Key messages World Press Freedom Day 2016
Courtesy of Unesco
- Press freedom is confronted by growing challenges of blocking access to online information, which curbs both people’s access to information as well as the range of information and expression online.
- The better the public access to information, the better the climate for respecting fundamental freedoms, including safety of journalists and creative cultural expression.
- Access to information is not only an end in itself, but also a means as a whole, following Sustainable Development Goal 16 for the 2030 Agenda.
- A culture of media freedom, pluralism and independence is essential for press freedom, highlighted in the Windhoek Declaration, adopted 25 years ago.
- Threatening press freedom is threatening access to information, because without a free press, journalists cannot collect and report their information safely and independently.
- Protecting online and offline journalism should be protected from surveillance overreach and widespread censorship.
- Promoting press freedom and journalist safety will ensure public’s access to impartial and quality information.
“As we observe WPFD 2016 and the role of UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, we must also pause to question what press freedom must not do: It cannot be used to promote gender violence, to extol terrorism, to deny human rights, to encourage religious or racial bigotry and above all to be a tool for genocide…”
- E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana
“Press freedom is a basic human right as well as an indispensable constituent of democracy in every African country. Citizens in all African states will not be free until all media on the continent is free.”
- The Africa Editors Forum
“The greatest challenge to media freedom is self-induced: Putting out content that has little regard for what audiences and readers want; disregarding the ethics of the profession; not maintaining high professional standards; and not paying adequate attention to the business dimension of the news business.”
- Eric Chinje, Chief Executive Officer, African Media Initiative.
“At this time of turbulence and change across the world, including new challenges that require global cooperation and action, the need for quality information has never been so important – this requires a strong environment of press freedom and well-functioning systems to ensure the people’s right to know.”
- Director-General, UNESCO, Irina Bokova
“The common thread among all World Press Freedom Day themes this year is the role of journalism as a specialized exercise of the right to free expression that uses professional standards and public interest as its lodestar.”
- Assistant Director-General, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO, Frank La Rue
“We are not the enemy, but we are here to help because gathering information and giving true and objective information can only strengthen societies and I think that is something that I would really like to see high up on the agenda of Press Freedom Day and beyond.”
- Christiane Amanpour, Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression, journalist and CNN chief International Correspondent
“I think democracy and civil society die in darkness without freedom of information, because without openness for journalists, they have no hope of illuminating the problems around the world and holding governments accountable.”
- Doug Jehl – Foreign editor, The Washington Post, USA
“When a journalist is murdered, it is not any person killed, it is killing the possibility for people to access information. I believe our work needs to be engaged to reduce inequalities and protect the right to information.”
- Ginna Morelo – President, Consejo de Redacción, Colombia
“I think our greatest undoing is to assume that Press freedom serves a special class of citizens called journalists. In truth, journalists only exercise that freedom on behalf of the people, and that’s why it’s worth defending.”
- Wangethi Mwangi, Senior Advisor, African Media Initiative
Additional quotes compiled by AMI.