World Press Freedom Day 2017: A Call for Critical Minds

World Press Freedom Day was declared by the UN in 1993. Today, we celebrate press freedom, defend independence of media, and pay tribute to fallen journalists.

By Lolade Nwanze

Today is World Press Freedom Day and no, it’s not a public holiday for the Press. It is a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom. The 2017 theme is, “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”

May 3 was declared WPFD by the United Nations in 1993 after a 1991 UN conference held in Windhoek, Namibia, where African newspaper journalists presented a paper on press freedom principles. The paper is famously called the Windhoek Declaration.

World Press Freedom Day is to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence, pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in exercise of the profession, inform the citizens of violations of press freedom, encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom worldwide and to serve as a reminder of press ethics.

Image: A crowd of journalists in Maluku transit camp, on the outskirts of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where citizens of that country, deported from Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, have gathered. (23 May 2014). UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

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