UNESCO Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women


World Press Freedom Day International Conference

Participants celebrate the World Press Freedom Day.

Every 3 May World Press Freedom Day represents an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom around the globe and to pay solemn tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2012 includes a conference and the Award ceremony of World Press Freedom Prize.
World Press Freedom Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December, 1993, as an outgrowth of the Seminar on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press.

This Seminar took place in Windhoek, Namibia, from 29 April to 3 May 1991, and led to the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media. The Windhoek Declaration called for the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press and emphasized the importance of a free press to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development.




Crowdsourcing tool to map World Press Freedom Day celebrations around the world

Screenshot of the Ushahidi Platform
This year the main celebration of World Press Freedom Day will be held in Tunis from 3 to 5 May 2012, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Tunisian Government under the theme, New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies. The event is also a worldwide one that will be visible thanks to the Ushaidi Platform.
The recent uprisings in some Arab States have highlighted the power of media, the human quest for freedom of expression and the confluence of press freedom and freedom of expression, through various traditional and new media. This has given rise to an unprecedented level of media freedom. New media have enabled civil society, young people and communities to bring about massive social and political transformations by self-organizing, and engaging the global youth in the fight to be able to freely express themselves and the aspirations of their wider communities.

For this reason, the celebration in Tunis represents a truly symbolic event. The Ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2012, hosted by the Tunisian Government, will be followed by a two-day conference that will hold a plenary session on Tunisia and discuss how to improve the safety of journalists, decriminalization of defamation, development of public service broadcasting, professional and ethical standards, access to quality information and the issue of media ownership in a changing media landscape. Other events will be organized by professional and non-governmental organizations. Some three hundred journalists and editors from all over the world, as well as international and regional non-governmental organizations, will attend this conference.

Other events will be organized all over the world by UNESCO field offices, NGOs, media organizations, schools, universities and social media. UNESCO can map these events through a crowdsourcing tool based on the Ushahidi Platform, open source software, which incorporates interactive mapping. No matter where you are, you can share your celebration of World Press Freedom Day with the world.

Seminars, workshops, round tables, meetings, conferences are taking place in UNESCO’s Offices in Quito (Ecuador), Kingston (Jamaica), Santiago (Chile) and Abuja (Nigeria) involving a wide range of partners, journalists, government’s officials. A two-day conference highlighting the main media challenges and professional responsibilities will take place in UNESCO’s Office in Beirut (Lebanon). Together with the Beijing Office, Globe International (IFEX member) launched an online discussion on the themes of the Tunis’s conference. In cooperation with the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), UNESCO’s Office in Harare (Zimbabwe) organizes events in the cities of Mzuzu, Blantyre and Lilongwe. Celebrations will include media debates, freedom marches, media awards and a gala dinner.

How will you celebrate WPFD 2012? Tell us by submitting your celebration on the WPFD Celebrations around the World Platform.

“Ushahidi”, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was a website initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Since then, the word “Ushahidi” has come to represent the people behind the Ushahidi Platform, which has grown from an ad hoc group of volunteers to a focused organization composed of individuals with experience ranging from human rights work to software development, primarily in Africa, but also in Europe, South America and the United States.

Since its proclamation by the UN General Assembly in 1993, every year, 3 May is a date that celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluates press freedom around the world, defends the media from attacks on their independence and pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom


Press Freedom

© SXC.hu/K.Syvinski

UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press and fosters media independence and pluralism by providing advisory services on media legislation and by making governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers aware of the need to guarantee free expression.

UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right, through lobbying and monitoring activities. It highlights media independence and pluralism as fundamental to the process of democracy by providing advisory services on media legislation and by making governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers aware of the need to guarantee free expression.

Other major UNESCO activities in this field include the proclamation in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly of a World Press Freedom Day to be celebrated on May 3rd; the establishment of an advisory group on press freedom which includes media professionals from all parts of the world; the establishment in 1997 of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

UNESCO supports independent media in zones of conflict to enable them to play an active role in conflict prevention and resolution and the transition towards a culture of peace.

Director-General celebrates World Press Freedom Day in Tunis


02.05.2012 – ODG

From 3 to 5 May, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will be in Tunisia for an official visit and for World Press Freedom Day celebrations.
During her visit, the Director-General is expected to meet with the President of the Tunisian Republic Moncef Marzouki and several government officials including the Minister of Culture Mehdi Mabrouk, Minister of Education Abdellatif Abid, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Moncef Ben Salem. She is also expected to meet the President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka and the UN Resident Coordinator in Tunisia Mohammed Belhocine.

On 3 May, the Director-General will give the 2012 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to Eynulla Fatullayev, an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist.

On 4 May, the Director-General and the Prime Minister of Tunisia Hamadi Jebali will launch World Press Freedom Day 2012. The day is held under the theme “Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies: New Voices, Youth and Social Media”. 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman will also take part in this event.

“Change in the Arab world has shown the power of aspirations for rights when combined with new and old media. Newfound media freedom is promising to transform societies through greater transparency and accountability. It is opening new ways to communicate and to share information and knowledge. Powerful new voices are rising – especially from young people – where they were silent before,” said the Director-General in a joint message with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. “This is why this year’s World Press Freedom Day is centred on the theme of New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies”.



New voice: media freedom helping to transform societies

© UNESCO – World Press Freedom Day logo
UNESCO will celebrate World Press Freedom Day (3 May) in Tunis this year, with a packed three-day programme of events focused on the role of media as a catalyst for social and political change.
One of the highlights of World Press Freedom Day 2012 will be the award ceremony on 3 May for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. This year’s laureate, Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist Eynulla Fatullayev, will attend the ceremony. Addresses will also be made by the President of Tunisia Moncef Marzouki, and the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova.

On the morning of 4 May, the Director-General and the Prime Minister of Tunisia Hamed Jebali will open an international conference on the theme of “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies” .

The conference will divided into three debates, held over 4 and 5 May:

Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies: New Voices, Youth, and Social Media will look at how the convergence of social media, mobile connections and satellite television has generated growth in freedom of expression. This in turn unleashed the protest movement that began in Tunisia in December in 2010 before spreading through much of the Arab world and beyond.
The Reshaping of the Media Landscape in a Transitional Environment is the subject of the second session. It will focus on the changes experienced by government-owned media and their ability to become public service operators that meet high journalistic standards in a self-regulating environment.
Finally, a Special Plenary Session on Tunisia will examine the way forward for the media in the country. Participants will include the Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, Samir Dilou and international participants such as Abdelkrim Hizaoui, Director of the Centre africain de perfectionnement des journalistes et des communicateurs.
For the first time, this year’s World Press Freedom Day event also includes a number of side events, organised by UNESCO’s press freedom partners, including non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, international media outlets and youth groups. Information about these events is available online.

Journalists wishing to cover the conference and linked activities are invited to register here.


World Press Freedom Day programme

Media contacts

In Tunis:

Mehdi Benchelah – m.benchelah(at)unesco.org

Bassam Mansour – b.mansour(at)unesco.org +33 (0)6 31 54 30 36

In Paris:

Roni Amelan – r.amelam(at)unesco.org; +33 1 4568 1706

Palestinian Journalists Reflect on the Legal and Ethical Standards on WPFD


World Press Freedom Day in Palestine: Strengthening Legal and Ethical Standards in a New Media Landscape

Media professionals in Gaza receive protective vests and helmets distributed by UNESCO – © UNESCO
A one-day seminar to commemorate World Press Day will be held at the Birzeit University´s Law Institute in the West Bank on 2 May, and a second one will take place at the premises of Birzeit University´s Media Development Center in Gaza on 10 May. These local commemorations of World Press Freedom Day will focus on the theme “Legal and Ethical Framework for Journalism in Palestine: Challenges in a New Media Environment”. They are being organized by the Media Development Centre at Birzeit University with the support of UNESCO and Canal France International.
Palestinian journalists work in a volatile context characterized by especially difficult circumstances. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), key actors in the media field will be brought together to raise awareness about the obstacles to freedom of expression in Palestine. They will discuss how to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework to ensure the respect of the rights of journalists and bloggers, guaranteeing their judiciary protection and taking into consideration emerging issues in an increasingly interconnected and fast evolving media landscape. Also at the core of the debate will be the promotion of ethical journalistic standards, and self-regulation mechanisms created and followed voluntarily by media professionals.

Journalists and bloggers; media outlets owners, editors and managers; representatives of professional associations; academics and students; civil society practitioners; officials from local and international public institutions are expected to join the discussions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Key media stakeholders have contributed to the development of the agenda of the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Palestine, including WAFA news agency, Ma’an news agency, Palestine TV, I’lam Media Center in Nazareth, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in Ramallah and the Government Media Center.

Speakers at the event in the West Bank will include renowned international and local media experts like Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy (Canada); Aref Hijjawi, former Head of Programmes at Al Jazeera (Qatar); Raed Othman, Director of Ma’an News Agency (Palestine); Waleed Shurafa, Head of the Media Department at Birzeit University (Palestine), and Ghasan Al-Khataib, Director of the Government Media Centre (Palestine).

The concept note prepared by Birzeit University’s Media Development Center for WPFD in Palestine is available here, and the agenda for the event in the West Bank can be accessed here. More information about the seminar in Gaza will be made available soon.

UNESCO is supporting the WPFD celebrations in the West Bank and Gaza within the framework of a broader agreement with Canal France International focused on supporting media in countries in transition or affected by conflict.




It was all fun, fanfare and merry making at the Spectrum Group’s Technical Headquarters Tuesday,with almost all of the staff taking part in intense activities organised by top management to commemorate the 2012 edition of the International Labour DAY.

Spectrum Singing Show, Spectrum May 01st Dinner, Spectrum Dance Duel, Spectrum Comic Displays and Intellectual Brainstorming of this year’s theme, was the center of the occasion.

It was an occassion for new colleagues to meet old colleagues and familiarise with one another for a conduisive working environment, hence enhance productivity to instigate excelent output.

The occassion gave the top management a chance to discover the hidden talents of some workers who play shy all the time.

Parting on a good note, the workers all prayed to have many of such opportunities for relaxation, discoveries and entertainment.