The World Press Freedom Day is celebrated to create awareness for the importance of freedom of the press. The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be observed as press freedom day promoting freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.
Every year many journalists, bloggers and media personnels get killed covering different stories. The UNESCO marks this day by conferring the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to individual, organization or institution that made an outstanding contribution to the defense and/or promotion of free press, especially when facing danger. The prize is in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza who was killed infront of his office on 17th December, 1986. His writings had offended the drug barons of Colombia.
Many like him fall prey to violence, terror activities, hijacks, kidnappings, etc. The UNESCO conducts discussion with media professionals, press freedom organisations and UN agencies to analyse the status of press freedom across the globe. This discussions helps in finding solutions to the challenges which include good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity and the role of media in post-conflict countries.
This year the theme is ‘Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!’. It focuses on the freedom of information as fundamental freedom and as a human right and protecting press freedom from censorship and surveillance overreac apart for ensuring safety for journalism online and offline.
Fiinovation believes that freedom of press and access to information helps in the wider development objective of empowering people. This can only be achieved if there is access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, plurality of opinions and active communication vertically and horizontally. India ranks 133 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2016. Press is considered as the fourth pillar of the Indian democracy and it is the duty of the media professionals to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards. Fiinovation understands that the Indian media have been promoting transparency so that the corrupt are being exposed.
Let us hope that we can make freedom of expression a reality with a legal environment allowing open and pluralistic media and access to information in the public domain.
By – Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation