Today is World Press Freedom Day. It was first officially proclaimed during the UN General Assembly in 1993. The day is observed every year on the 3rd of May to raise awareness about the importance of freedom of the press. The theme of this year is, ‘Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media’. It highlights the need for action to uphold the right of journalists to carry out their vital work.
Today, media is considered as the fourth pillar of the state all over the world. It controls the minds of the masses and gives a shape to the public opinion. In turn, public opinion plays a vital role in the checks and balance system designed to ensure equal and balanced authorities between the three pillars of government, namely: Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people.
However, the fact of the matter is that the media remains unfree. It is also 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.
Over the past decade, more than 600 journalists have been killed – at least 120 in the past one year alone. As we mark the World Press Freedom Day, let us pledge to do our best effort to enable all journalists in all media to do their jobs fearlessly and independently.