Every year on this day (May 3), the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day. The day is observed to emphasise the spirit of journalism and pay gratitude to journalists who have dedicated their lives to bring forth the truth in the public domain.
In the covid era, journalists are working round-the-clock to ensure the public remains abreast with news and developments across the world. The Editors Guild of India last month urged the government to declare journalists as frontline workers and ensure priority vaccination for them amid a rise in coronavirus cases. Also Read: Israel Bans Travel To 7 High-Risk Countries, Including India, Amid Rise In Covid Cases
States such as Odisha and Uttarakhand also announced free vaccination for journalists. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday (May 2) declared working journalists of the state as ‘Frontline Covid-19 Warriors’ and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 15,00,000 to the next of kin of a journalist who succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.
What’s the significance of World Press Day?
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the press plays a critical role in keeping the public informed of the happenings in their country and around the world. According to UNESCO, the day is observed 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; pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. World Press Freedom Day was announced by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.
What’s the theme of World Press Freedom Day 2021?
As per the UNESCO Website, the World Press Freedom Day 2021 theme is ‘Information as a Public Good’. The theme stresses the importance of disseminating information as a public good and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution, and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind. The theme is most relevant in Covid times to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting our health, our human rights, democracies, and sustainable development.
In order to focus on the importance of information within our online media environment, World Press Freedom Day 2021 will highlight three key topics:
- Measures to ensure the economic viability of news media;
- Ways to ensure transparency of Internet companies;
- Enhanced Media and Information Literacy (MIL) capacities that enable people to recognize and value, as well as defend and demand, journalism as a vital part of information as a public good.