On May 3 the World Press Freedom Day was celebrated worldwide. 2011 marks the 20th anniversary since the adoption of the Declaration of Windhoek in 1991, which became the basis for proclaiming the international journalists day by the UN General Assembly in 1993. In Armenia this event is being marked since 1997.
“21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers" is the theme of World Press Freedom Day 2011. The theme “highlights this dramatically changed global media landscape”: “new media and tools such as cell phones continue to empower individuals, enrich news-gathering and illuminate once-largely-hidden workings of government, business and industry”, the message of Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General stated. Alongside these benefits, UN Secretary-General reminded about the old challenges “such as the use of media to disseminate hatred and incite violence”. “There are also undeniable new barriers being imposed by States, including cyber-surveillance, digital harassment and censorship on the Internet”, the message noted.
The joint message for 2011 from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, stressed that United Nations is dedicated to ensuring that the Internet becomes a truly global public resource, to which all have access and where all voices are heard: “This underlines the importance of quality content. This calls for action to defend the integrity and safety of online reporters. All principles of freedom of expression must be brought to the on-line world.”
“Journalists must be protected. Over the last decade, more than 500 journalists lost their lives in the pursuit of their profession. (…) Every week brings more reports of journalists and bloggers suffering from intimidation and violence. Violations of fundamental human rights cannot go unanswered. State authorities must do everything to counter impunity and to protect the safety of journalists. (…)The media revolution is triggering new debates about freedom of expression, about the nature of regulation, about the balance between expression and responsibility. We must not shy away from exploring all angles of these questions. We must all rise to the occasion and accept the responsibility of change,” called the UN representatives.
On May 3 in Istanbul at Freedom for Journalists Congress Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, urged all OSCE participating States to do more to curb violence against journalists and ensure a safe work environment for the media. “Today, as the world honors the free press that on a daily basis helps us to improve our democracies and pursue our development goals, I call on all OSCE states to take broad measures to ensure the most favorable and safe environment for their media. Murders, violent attacks, intimidation of journalists and their family members, various forms of harassment and criminalization of speech thwart the work of free media serving their audiences”, emphasized Dunja Mijatovic.