On May 3 United Nations General Assembly declared World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press among people. In India press is known as the fourth pillar of democracy after Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. World press freedom day also marked to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This day also marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.
UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) observe World Press Freedom Day by conferring the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for a deserving individual, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. This award Created in 1997, the prize is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals. Names are submitted by regional and international non-governmental organisations working for press freedom, and by UNESCO member states.
The Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, on 17 December 1986. Cano’s writings had offended Colombia’s powerful drug barons.
UNESCO also marks World Press Freedom Day each year by bringing together media professionals, press freedom organisations and UN agencies to assess the state of press freedom worldwide and discuss solutions for addressing challenges. Each conference is centred on a theme related to press freedom, including good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity and the role of media in post-conflict countries.
2011 World Press Freedom Day celebration was held in Washington, D.C., the United States hosted the first time World Press Freedom Day on May 1-3. The theme of the event was 21st Century Media New Frontiers, New Barriers. The event affirmed fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age—the ability of citizens to voice their opinions and access diverse, independent information sources—20 years after the original declaration was made in Windhoek, Namibia.
2016 setbacks for Indian press
2016 noted as a difficult year for Press and Media as various attacks were reported on journalists. Apart from these media faced the problems like suspension of Internet services in a region, self-censorship on part of media companies, censoring of films and other arts, among other instances which may frustrate free functioning of the media.
In July 2016 after the killing of militant Burhan Wani who is also known as commander for separatists of Kashmir led to the shutdown of the printing presses of two Kashmir newspapers and also the ban on Kashmir Reader for three months. Recently Jammu and Kashmir suffered the bans on Internet services.
One of the Indian News Channel “NDTV” faced a one-day ban for its coverage of the Pathankot attack which suspects to revealed strategic and confidential information about the operations. However, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry put the ban on hold after the NDTV approached the Supreme Court.
On this World Press Day, many political leaders acknowledged wishes and commemorate Indian press for their dedication and Hard work. PM Narendra Modi tweeted “World Press Freedom Day is a day to reiterate our unwavering support towards a free & vibrant press, which is vital in a democracy”.
World Press Freedom Day is a day to reiterate our unwavering support towards a free & vibrant press, which is vital in a democracy.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 3, 2017
— M Venkaiah Naidu (@MVenkaiahNaidu) May 3, 2017