World Press Freedom Day

"On World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all." — António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

It is an opportunity to:

 celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Read more about this year's themes in the Concept note

Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

UNESCO, the Government of Indonesia, and the Press Council of Indonesia co-organized the World Press Freedom Day's main event and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1-4 May 2017.

National celebrations take place each year to commemorate this Day. UNESCO leads the worldwide celebration by identifying the global thematic and organizing the main event in different parts of world every year.

The international day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.

UNESCO and the Government of Ghana will partner to organize the next, 25th global celebration of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) in Accra, Ghana from 3 to 4 May 2018 on “Media, Justice and the Rule of law”.

The two-day event (3-4 May 2018) will bring together leading actors from the media, civil society, policy makers, representatives of the judiciary, and academia to discuss latest developments and pressing challenges related to press freedom and the safety of journalists.

A multi-stakeholder Steering Committee, co-chaired by UNESCO and the Ministry of Information of UNESCO, has been set up to oversee the planning of the event. Anna Bossman, Ambassador of Ghana to UNESCO, has said: “In accepting to host the 2018 edition of the World Press Freedom Day, Ghana wishes to demonstrate her commitment to the promotion of freedom of press within our national territorial boundaries, the African continent as a whole and the global community in general.”

It is the fourth time that the global celebration of WPFD will take place on African soil, 27 years after the Windhoek Declaration on free, independent and pluralistic media was adopted and later endorsed by UNESCO's General Conference. The main celebration in Accra is expected to be reinforced by some 100 national events the world over.

The theme chosen for this year’s celebrations will explore the media’s and the judiciary’s respective roles in ensuring the rule of law, including in times of elections, and in safeguarding the fundamental right to freedom of expression and addressing crimes against journalists.

The Accra event is expected to include a range of plenary and breakout sessions, an academic conference on safety of journalists, a youth newsroom and photo exhibitions. Partners interested in proposing panels for the conference are invited to contact UNESCO.

3 May will also serve as an opportunity to remind society that around the world, journalists, editors and media workers, continue to be harassed, attacked, jailed, and in the worst case, killed, simply for exercising their profession. The 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be awarded to a person or an organization having made an outstanding contribution to the defense of press freedom.

A dedicated website ( and online registration page will be set up shortly on the UNESCO website.

WPFD has been celebrated annually since 1993, when the UN General Assembly proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day.

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