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Latin America joined the celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day 2018

24 May 2018

With the support of UNESCO, Argentina, Chile, Peru, United States and Uruguay gathered around the global theme ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law’.

In 2018, the theme of World Press Freedom Day focused on media and transparency issues of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The international day also examined contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online.

Within this context, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean Office of Montevideo, in partnership with the UNESCO Offices of New York, Santiago and Lima, and jointly with national and regional allies, promoted events during the entire month of May.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, UNESCO supported the launch of pedagogical material with the aim of offering secondary teachers a tool that develops and strengthens the ability to identify reliable and relevant content on sources of information. The joint action was held with ENACOM (the National Communications Agency) through their "Children and screens" programme.

In Santiago, Chile, UNESCO joined a panel "The importance of access to information to achieve sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean", organized by CEPAL and IFLA, aimed at highlighting and discussing the importance of access to information, the role of civil society, and the implementation of the SDGs and their local development plans in particular.

The panel "The importance of access to information to achieve sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean" at the Hernán Santa Cruz Library of CEPAL and IFLA in the framework of the Second Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development. © CEPAL.

Similarly, Seminar "Informative Pluralism, Journalism and Media in the Digital Age", organized by the UNESCO Santiago Office, brought together academics and journalists who analyzed the sustainability challenges of diverse voices in the Chilean information market. Also in Chile, UNESCO highlighted the responsibility of journalists in the promotion of access to information and the data opening with the access to information on international talk "Journalism and right of access to information: where are we going?". The academic meeting counted with the participation of the journalist and sociologist Olivia Sohr, who was especially invited by UNESCO to show the work of the Argentine digital media Chequeado.

In Peru, with the UNESCO Office in Lima, the Peruvian Judiciary Power and Orbicom was co-organized a panel on freedom of expression and rule of law. Likewise, the report "World Trends on Freedom of Expression and Media Development" was presented to communication specialists, journalists and journalism students.

The main conclusion of the report is that "there are areas where we are moving forward, but unfortunately we take a step forward and go back two steps," said Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO. Lima, Peru. © UNESCO

In New York, a panel with the collaboration of the Columbia University and the University of Los Andes, was carried out. Entitled "SDG 16: Seeking protection and justice for freedom of expression and information", the initiative was attended by Guilherme Canela, UNESCO Adviser for Communication and Information. An information session in partnership with the Global for SDG16 and the Argentina Permanent Mission to the UN, was also organized in New York about the work carried out by UNESCO together with the Judicial Powers of the Ibero-American Region towards the strengthening and promotion of access to public information, the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.

Panel "ODS 16: Seeking Protection and Justice for Freedom of Expression and Information", with Guilherme Canela, UNESCO Regional Communication and Information Adviser. © UNESCO

In Uruguay, the UNESCO Office in Montevideo carried out an activity that connected four different initiatives in the event together with the French Embassy and the Uruguayan Press Association (APU), in the Blanes Museum. More than 100 students, artists and journalists attended the event, which gathered Brazilian artist and political activist Claudius Ceccon, and other important actors of the region, in a debate on freedom of expression and humour.

The presentation of the Marcelo Jelen Written Press National Prize also took place, highlighting works that contribute to disarticulate unique thought, promote diversity and non-discrimination for the dissemination and spread of good practices and values such as the promotion of citizenship, democracy and human rights. In this context, the children's comics Yamandú y su diente, a graphic material that presents cases for use in the classroom, was also launched. Finally, the Institut Français exhibition "Cartoons in Freedom" (in commemoration of Charlie Hebdo), was premiered, presenting illustrations of fifty press artists from all over the world.

In addition, in Uruguay, the study "Kids Online Uruguay" was released. Conducted within the framework of an alliance made by UNICEF, Plan Ceibal, AGESIC, the Catholic University of Uruguay and UNESCO, the study investigates and deepens access and forms of internet use by children and adolescents.