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United Nations and freedom of the Media

Media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.

However, in order to make freedom of expression a reality, there must be:

  • a legal and regulatory environment that allows for an open and pluralistic media sector to emerge;
  • a political will to support the sector and rule of law to protect it;
  • laws ensuring access to information, especially information in the public domain; and
  • the necessary media literacy skills among news consumers to critically analyze and synthesize the information they receive to use it in their daily lives and to hold the media accountable for its actions.

World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to: celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists

The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity is the result of a process that began in 2010 upon request of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

It supports creating of a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide. Its measures include, among other undertakings, the establishment of a coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues related to the safety of journalists as well as assisting countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favourable to freedom of expression and information, and supporting their efforts to implement existing international rules and principles.

Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trnidad and Tobago

 

 

 

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