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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.

UN Radio on Sound Cloud

Press and Notices

  1. Notices
  2. Press Releases
  • What's happening at the UN during the week of 9 January 2017
    9 January, TuesdayThe United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, will travel to Syria from 9 to 12 January.10 January,…
    05 January 2018
  • Global Festival of Action
    Global Festival of Action The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development will be 2018’s meeting place for SDG Actors - from across the globe - to meet, network, build partnerships,…
    20 December 2017
  • Hurricanes in the Caribbean
    Hurricanes in the Caribbean
    • Read the latest situation reports about humanitarian assistance being provided to the countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria at the website of the UN…
    • What is a Hurricane?

      When a storm's (tropical cyclone) maximum sustained winds reach 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph), it is called a hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating, or category, based on a hurricane's maximum sustained winds. The higher the category, the greater the hurricane's potential for property damage.  Hurricanes originate in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, the eastern North Pacific Ocean, and, less frequently, the central North Pacific Ocean. A six-year rotating list of names, updated and maintained by the World Meteorological Organization, is used to identify these storms.

      (source: NOAA - Hurricane Centre) 


      For more information on Hurricanes and preparedness in the Caribbean go to the CDEMA website

      How you can help?

      website donation button


      You can make a donation to one of the country based internatoinal funds managed by the UN Foundation. The UN Reliefweb also provides information on how to donate to specific appeals by the UN following some disaster or emergency. Most times money donations help to get urgent relief items to an area faster, because it helps to buy appropriate medication, food and shelter supplies from the closest or fastest and safest or most trustworthy supplier.

      Be careful of fraud. Double check the source of information before donating. If you have doubts visit the OCHA website or contact a UN office for more information.

      Donations in kind, are also welcome. They will usually be organised by local or internatoinal NGOs or government agencies who work with OCHA to provide supply relief items. It usually takes some time before this process happens. Port facilities and services need to be functioning to make this type of aid successful. 

      Take Action:

      - Find Local or regional NGOs supporting the humanitarian assistance to areas in need: ( check back here to see an active list for Irma)

      - Contact local UN offices to find out more about volunteering or go to the UN Volunteers website

      The UN will post appeals for assistance as soon as an assessment is conducted on the impacted islands/states and based on needs.




    • Read the latest situation reports about humanitarian assistance being provided to the countries affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria at the website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).



      How does the UN provide assistance to emergencies, disasters or hazards?


      Office for the Coordinaton of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)  is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. 

      OCHA's mission is to:

      • Mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
      • Advocate the rights of people in need.
      • Promote preparedness and prevention.
      • Facilitate sustainable solutions.

      The humanitarian programme cycle (HPC) is a coordinated series of actions undertaken to help prepare for, manage and deliver humanitarian response. It consists of five elements coordinated in a seamless manner, with one step logically building on the previous and leading to the next.

      Core HPC Elements are:

      Needs assessment and analysis
      Strategic response planning
      Resource mobilization
      Implementation and monitoring
      Operational review and evaluation

      Learn more about OCHA and how it coordinates humanitarian assistance

      OCHA 25th aniversary logo


    06 September 2017
  • Invitations open to apply for UN/Nippon Fellowship
    The UN in partnership with the Nippon Foundation invites applications from qualified persons in the Region for the Fellowship - Oceans and Law of the…
    30 November -0001


Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 


2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago




Feature photos

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  • Faces of Rotary (Central PoS) MUN 2017
  • UNESCO(National Commission) hosts ASPNET workshop at the UNIC
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