[FoME] World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2006

Christoph Dietz christoph.dietz at CAMECO.ORG
Mi Mai 3 10:50:19 CEST 2006

>From IFEX COMMUNIQUÉ VOL 15 NO 17 | 2 MAY 2006

Visit the special World Press Freedom Day page on the IFEX website: 
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/242/  |----


IFEX members and other free expression advocates around the globe are
celebrating World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2006 - a day to remind the
world of the crucial role a free press plays in strengthening
democracies and fostering development. 

Celebrated each year since 1993, when it was proclaimed by the United
Nations General Assembly, World Press Freedom Day is an occasion to pay
tribute to journalists who have been killed because of their work and to
promote the importance of protecting the right to freedom of

As the only U.N. agency dedicated to promoting press freedom and
freedom of expression, UNESCO organises an annual prize-giving ceremony
and conference to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. This year's
events are being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka under the theme "Media,
Development and Poverty Eradication." 

On 3 May, UNESCO will award Lebanese journalist May Chidiac the 2006
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The US $25,000 prize is
named after Colombian journalist Guillermo Cano, who was assassinated in
1987 after denouncing the activities of powerful drug barons in his
country. It honours the work of an individual or an organization that
defends or promotes freedom of expression at great risk to their lives.

Chidiac, a popular television news presenter, survived an assassination
attempt on 25 September 2005. She lost her left hand and leg when a bomb
strapped to her car detonated minutes after she got in. She has come to
be seen as a symbol of freedom of expression in Lebanon, where the
assassinations of two colleagues - Lebanese columnist Samir Kassir and
newspaper publisher Gebran Tueni - in 2005 shocked the nation. 

Today, UNESCO is holding a conference focusing on the importance of
maintaining a free press in the context of poverty eradication and the
U.N.-led global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. 

"Free and independent media serve as a vehicle for sharing information
in order to facilitate good governance, generate opportunities to gain
access to essential services, promote accountability and counteract
corruption, and develop the relationship between an informed, critical
and participatory citizenry and responsive elected officials," says
UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura. 

Matsuura notes that free and independent media are associated with a
range of benefits that are highly relevant to poverty eradication,
including the recognition and strengthening of basic human rights, a
stronger civil society, institutional change, political transparency,
support to education, public health awareness (such as education
campaigns on HIV and AIDS) and sustainable livelihoods. "There is also a
strong positive correlation between freedom of expression and higher
incomes, lower infant mortality and increased adult literacy," he adds.

While emphasing the importance of a free media in the context of
poverty eradication, UNESCO and other intergovernmental organisations
also recognise the dangers facing journalists worldwide who report the

In a joint statement released today, four experts who monitor media
freedom for the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the Organization
for Security for Cooperation in Europe said "in 2005, the world recorded
the highest number of journalists and other media professionals, killed
or injured in the line of duty."

The experts called on governments to "combat impunity with regard to
violence against journalists and media personnel, by bringing to justice
those responsible for attacks against them, and by taking measures that
enable journalists and media personnel to continue providing information
freely and independently." They also demanded that all journalists
detained because of their media-related activities should be released

An ugly reminder of the dangers facing journalists occurred on 2 May,
when unidentified gunmen in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, stormed the offices of
the Tamil-language newspaper "Uthyan" and opened fire on the staff,
reported Free Media Movement (FMM). Two were killed: Mr. Suresh, 35, and
Mr. Ranjith, 24. The gunmen also destroyed all the computers in the
office (See: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/74135/).

Visit these links:
- IFEX World Press Freedom Day Coverage:
- UNESCO: http://www.unesco.org/webworld/wpfd/2006 
- UNESCO Conference Programme: http://tinyurl.com/jn7yo 
- World Press Freedom Prize: http://tinyurl.com/42zjk 
- Joint Statement by Media Freedom Experts:
- UN Millenium Project: http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/ 
- Millenium Campaign: http://www.millenniumcampaign.org

Every year, IFEX members around the world mark World Press Freedom Day
with activities to promote the right to press freedom and freedom of
expression, and to raise awareness of threats against journalists,
writers and others who are targeted for exercising these rights.


In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Journaliste en danger (JED) is
holding an event in Kinshasa on 2 May to commemorate the deaths of
reporter Franck Ngyke Kangundu and his wife Hélène Mpaka, who were
murdered last November. At the event, entitled "All Against Forgetting"
("Tous Ensemble contre l'Oubli"), JED will highlight the issue of
journalists' safety in the run-up to the June elections. 
See: http://www.jed-afrique.org/news.php?id_news=11 

In Namibia, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is launching
its annual report "So This Is Democracy? The State of Media Freedom in
Southern Africa" in Windhoek on 3 May. For the first time, this year's
publication includes reports on six Southern African countries whose
press freedom records have been scrutinised using the African Media
Barometer, a new monitoring tool developed by MISA and Germany's
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung foundation. The Barometer measures press
freedom in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia
according to benchmarks derived from the African Union's Declaration of
Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. Copies of the publication
can be ordered from MISA by contacting Eric Libongani: resource at misa.org
or libongani at misa.org. It can also be downloaded here:

In Nigeria, Media Rights Agenda and the United Nations Information
Centre are jointly hosting a conference in Lagos on 3 May, under the
theme "Ensuring Good Governance through Citizen Participation: the Role
of the Media." The conference brings together journalists, civil society
activists and other stakeholders in Nigeria to debate various issues
relating to good governance, including citizen participation in
governance and the role of the media in ensuring the free flow of
information. Mr. Odia Ofeimun - one of Nigeria's foremost poets and
political activists - will be guest speaker at the conference. 
See: http://mediarightsagenda.org/index.html 


Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is hosting a panel
discussion in Toronto, Canada, to discuss the aftermath of the Danish
cartoon controversy. "Drawing Controversy - the Mohammed Cartoons" will
look at how the controversy has affected free expression and
multiculturalism in Canada and around the world. The panel includes
experts from the media, academia and civil society. 
See: http://www.cjfe.org/eng/about/events.html 

In Montreal, Canada, the Federation of Quebec Journalists (Fédération
professionelle des journalistes du Québec, FPJQ) held a roundtable
discussion on 29 April 2006, featuring war correspondents from
Radio-Canada, "La Presse" and Canadian Press. The discussion examined
local media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the
challenges of reporting impartially in wartime. 
See: http://www.fpjq.org/ 

In Mexico, the National Centre for Social Communication (Centro
Nacional de Comunicación Social, CENCOS) is co-sponsoring a three-day
seminar in San Luis Potosí on 3-5 May. Organised by the European
Union-Mexico Commission's Human Rights Co-operation Programme, the
seminar will bring together journalists, academics, civil society
activists and public officials to assess the state of free expression in
Mexico and discuss ways of bringing laws into line with international
See: http://www.pdhumanos.org/actividades/eventos/programa.html 

The Inter American Press Association will be celebrating 3 May in
Brasilia, where it will hold a conference on press freedom and a
ceremony where President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will sign the
Declaration of Chapultepec. The signing of the Declaration, a
non-binding charter of press freedom principles, re-affirms the
Brazilian government's commitment to the principles, which were first
signed by former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso in August 1996. The
conference is expected to bring together more than 100 congress members,
jurists, publishers and editors to analyse barriers to press freedom in
Brazil, including criminal defamation laws and an Access to Information
bill that has been stalled in the lower house.
See: http://www.sipiapa.org 

The Committee to Protect Journalists has released its list of the 10
Most Censored Countries in the world to focus attention on the state of
press freedom in the darkest corners of the globe. North Korea tops this
year's list, followed by Burma, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya,
Eritrea, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Syria, and Belarus.
The report is available here: http://www.cpj.org/censored/index.html 

Freedom House is marking World Press Freedom Day by launching "Freedom
of the Press 2006: A Global Survey of Media Independence." The survey
assesses the degree of print, broadcast and Internet freedom in every
country in the world. This year's report indicates that press freedom
declined most significantly in the following countries: East Timor,
Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Botswana, Ethiopia, Russia and
See: http://www.freedomhouse.org/ 

The World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) has issued a statement for
World Press Freedom Day, saying, "The time is long past for the
international community to rededicate itself to implementing the
standing promise since 1948 of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers."
See: http://www.wpfc.org/StatementsWPFD2006.html 


In the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
(CMFR) has joined several media organisations and press freedom
advocates in releasing a joint statement expressing concern over
increasing government intervention on press coverage in the country. The
groups said journalists and media outlets that take a more critical
stance on the government have come under pressure, citing recent cases
in which the ABS-CBN television network and the Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism were the targets of government probes. 
See: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/74130/ 

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and its network of member
organisations in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga are celebrating
3 May by highlighting UNESCO's theme of "Media and Poverty Eradication."
In Fiji, the Fiji Media Council is hosting a talk on the impact of new
media technologies on press freedom. In Papua New Guinea, the Papua New
Guinea Media Council is holding a week-long series of events from 29
April to 3 May in partnership with the University of Papua New Guinea.
The highlight is an exhibition showcasing the history of media in Papua
New Guinea and the role of media in eradicating poverty. 

The Journalist Association of Samoa celebrates 3 May with a student
debate that will judge participants on their ability to argue the merits
of press freedom in alleviating poverty. Members of the public will also
be invited to comment on the debate and the debate issues. In Tonga, the
Media Council of Tonga is inviting high school students to submit
entries for a competition that will judge the best essay on the
importance of freedom of expression. The five best essays will be
selected for presentation at a 3 May event where prizes will be awarded
to the winners. The winning essays will be published in print media and
broadcast on radio and television. 
See: http://www.pinanius.com/news/publish/article_3146.shtml 

In Karachi, the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is holding a seminar on
3 May entitled "Media, Development and Poverty Eradication." A panel of
experts will talk about the connection between the media's role in
providing access to information and poverty eradication measures that
empower the poor. The panel will include representatives of the Citizens
Media Commission, the newspaper "Dawn" and the Research Institute of
Islamic Banking & Finance. 
See: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/ 

The International Federation of Journalists' Asia-Pacific office is
releasing its fourth annual South Asia Press Freedom Report on 3 May, in
partnership with the South Asia Media Solidarity Network and with the
support of UNESCO. "Journalism in Troubled Times: The Struggle for Press
Freedom in South Asia highlights the plight of journalists throughout
South Asia.
See: http://www.ifj-asia.org/ 

In Australia, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has
published "The Media Muzzled", a report on press freedom in Australia.
The report argues that governments, courts, police and corporations over
the past year have openly violated free expression rights to manipulate,
hide and block the release of information into the public domain. The
report can be downloaded here:


In Moldova, the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) is holding a series
of events in Chisinau during the week of 1-5 May. On 2 May, IJC will
officially announce the opening of the IJC Graduate Journalism Programme
in partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism. On 4 May, it will
host a Media Fair involving a public exhibit and public debate on press
freedom, and hold a meeting of the Chisinau Press Club in partnership
with the Moldovan Press Freedom Committee. On 5 May, IJC will hold a
workshop on investigative journalism and press freedom. 
See: http://www.ijc.md/en/ 

In Romania, transparency, quality and responsibility are the key words
highlighting World Press Freedom Day events organised by several groups,
including the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ), a member of the
South East European network for the Professionalization of the Media
(SEENPM). On 3 May, the CIJ will launch the Romanian Media Index, the
first online database containing information on media ownership in the
country (see http://www.mediaindex.ro)

On the same day, a Media Camp will be set up in University Square,
Bucharest, where more than 20 media organisations will host displays and
a photography exhibition, and invite members of the public to meet
journalists. The day will end with the traditional Journalists' Party,
during which the organizers will award prizes for the "most harassed
journalists," as well as "anti-prizes" for the "most consistent
harassers" of the press. 
See: http://www.cji.ro/ 

On 2 May, a debate will be held by the Convention of Media
Organizations, an alliance of over 30 journalists associations, trade
unions and media organisations. The debate will discuss how the media
reflects and serves the public interest, and whether the proposed
national security and access to information laws currently being
considered in Romania respect international free expression standards. 

The International Press Institute (IPI) is commemorating journalists
who were killed in the line of duty in 2005. IPI said in a statement
that "World Press Freedom Day is a day to remember that when a
journalist is killed the public risks the loss of valuable information
beneficial to society. The authorities must investigate these violent
crimes properly and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. There
should also be greater awareness of the relationship between the free
flow of information and the essential work carried out by journalists."
See: http://www.freemedia.at/Protests2006/pr_WPFD03.05.06.htm 

In Belgium, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
holding a press conference on 3 May at the European Parliament in
Brussels that will be dedicated to press freedom in Algeria. The IFJ
says there have been numerous attacks on press freedom in the country
since the re-election of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2004. More
than 20 journalists have been sentenced to prison in the past two years,
and dozens of other journalists have been given suspended sentences,
forcing them to censor their own work to avoid being sent to jail. The
press conference will provide information on the state of media control
and intimidation in Algeria and include a question and answer period.
See: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=3872&Language=EN 

In France, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF)
is launching a book of photographs - "Gilles Caron for Press Freedom" -
to raise funds for its press freedom work and to showcase the work of
the French photographer who disappeared in Cambodia in the 1970s. RSF is
also publishing its 2006 Annual Report, which profiles the state of
press freedom in 105 countries.
See: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=17537 

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) invites newspapers around the
world to download its free World Press Freedom Day package of editorial
and advertising materials on 3 May. The package contains essays, opinion
pieces, interviews, infographics, editorial cartoons, photographs,
advertisements and video clips that focus on the theme "Don't Lock Up
Information: Stop Jailing Journalists." The materials are available,
free of charge, in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese
and Arabic.
See: http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org 


The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), the Cairo Institute
for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and the Arabic Network for Human Rights
Information (HRinfo) are hosting a forum on 3 May in Cairo, Egypt,
entitled "What is the Arab World's Loss in Keeping Imprisonment in
Publishing Cases?" The event is organised in collaboration with the
Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) and the Committee to Protect
Journalists. The first part of the forum will examine cases where
journalists in various countries have been jailed for press offences,
including Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. Speakers will include Gamal
Fahmy of the EJS, Neziha Rejeiba, editor-in-chief of the banned Tunisian
online magazine "Kalima", and Fatiha Ben Chico, wife of the imprisoned
editor-in-chief of the Algerian newspaper "Le Matin", Mohammed Ben
Chico. The second part of the forum will focus on possible solutions to
the problem. 
See: http://www.eohr.org/press/2006/pr0430.shtml or

In Lebanon, Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation) is holding an event
on 3 May in collaboration with UNESCO, entitled "The Martyrs of the
Lebanese Press (1906-2006), 100 years of Red Ink." The event is
sponsored by the IFEX Clearing House's Outreach Programme with funds
from the Open Society Institute (OSI). A torch-lighting ceremony will
commemorate the murder last December of "An-Nahar" newspaper publisher
Gebran Tueni. A new book profiling Tueni and other journalists murdered
in Lebanon in the past decade will also be launched. The event will also
feature a talk by Sihem Ben Sidrine, Secretary General of the
Observatory for Freedom of the Press, Publishing and Creation
(Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d'édition et de creation,
OLPEC), who will speak about free expression violations in Tunisia,
including the ongoing imprisonment of dissident lawyer Mohammed Abbou. 
See: http://www.maharatfoundation.org/ 

In Iraq, the Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association, supported by
the IFEX Clearing House's Outreach Programme and the Open Society
Institute, will be holding an event in Baghdad to express support for
missing journalists Reem Zaid and Marwan Khazaal, who were abducted on 1
February 2006. Participants will discuss possible strategies for
lobbying the government to take up their cases as a priority. The event
will also feature first hand accounts from journalists who have been
detained, tortured or imprisoned in Iraq, and accounts from families of
those killed.
See: http://www.ijrda.com/prees/ 

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