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World Press Freedom Day

wpfd-logoIt has been already 21 years that 3rd of May is being celebrated as World Press Freedom Day. On 20th of December in 1993 UN General Assembly by the special resolution proclaimed 3rd of May as World Press Freedom Day. May 3rd was selected because on this day in 1991 in Namibia’s capital Windhoek African countries free press representatives have adopted Windhoek Declaration, which called on governments to ensure freedom of expression and press freedom.

The Declaration admitted that the existence of a free and independent press is the most important component of a democratic society. After the adoption of the Declaration in 1993, UNESCO launched a global campaign to defend freedom of speech and press. One of the essential achievements of international cooperation on Press freedom issues is the UN Resolution 29: “Condemnation of violence against journalists” and UN institution’s all leaders joined to it.

Universal declaration of human rights article 19th says that 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. This right includes freedom to be loyal to own opinions and to seek, receive and impart any information and ideas regardless of frontiers by any means.

The 27th article of Armenian Constitution says that everyone shall have the right to freely express his/her opinion. No one shall be forced to recede or change his/her opinion. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression including freedom to search for, receive and impart information and ideas by any means of information regardless of the state frontiers. Freedom of mass media and other means of mass information shall be guaranteed. The state shall guarantee the existence and activities of an independent and public radio and television service offering a variety of informational, cultural and entertaining programs.

”Reporters without borders” international organization each year publishes its report on “Freedom of the press”, in which the countries are divided into 5 groups according to the status of press freedom: very serious situation, difficult situation, noticeable problems, satisfactory situation, good situation. Press freedom index values are the best in Finland, the Netherlands, and Norway; worst are Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.

According to 2014 year data Armenia ranked in 78th place, being included in the group of countries with noticeable problems.

”World Press Freedom Day” serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered. The main goal of May 3 is to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout the world, defend the media from attacks, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On World Press Freedom Day annually the Press prize is awarded as part of the day celebrations. An international, independent jury of media professionals has named Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Şik the winner of the 2014 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Şik, is an ardent defender of freedom of expression, and has devoted his career to denouncing corruption and human rights abuses.

Each year there is also a special theme for the day. In 2014 World Press Freedom Day theme is “Media freedom for a better future: Shaping the post-2015 development agenda“.

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