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Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Press Freedom Day

3 May

Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.

At the core of UNESCO's mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.

It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.

3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.


Journalism without Fear or Favour

22, 23, 24 April | World Forum | The Hague | The Netherlands


In 2020 the annual World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC) will be hosted by UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The conference will take place on April 22, 23, 24 at the World Forum in The Hague, a city known for its role in international peace and justice. Both organizers call upon those active in the field of press freedom to participate in WFPDC 2020. The event will also feature on the third day the first-ever World Press Freedom Festival. The conference and festival are being held in the run-up to World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.


The title of this year’s celebration is ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour’. The key premise of the Conference is that we need to stand up for free and independent media, and protect journalism from persisting and new forms of control. With the independence and freedom of the media under attack in so many countries, this is now more relevant than ever. 


By setting the issue in world leaders’ agendas, by inspiring and educating, and by mobilizing people into action, WPFD 2020 calls upon everyone to contribute to positive change - including governments, journalists and media, the judiciary and legal sector, Internet businesses, civil society, academia and the youth. 


As of December it is possible to submit proposals for parallel sessions and other activities during the conference and festival, in all sorts of formats, such as interactive sessions, practical workshops, and artistic performances. WPFC 2020 welcomes innovative and engaging initiatives that appeal to a broad audience. For more details about how to submit your proposal, please check out the call for proposals. Proposals must be submitted and received before 19 January 2020.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for any questions regarding this call for proposals.

Any other questions may be directed to UNESCO (WPFD@UNESCO.org) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands (WPFD2020-CFP@minbuza.nl).



We call upon academics active in the field of press freedom and media capture from all over the world to submit their paper and poster presentation to participate in the academic part of the World Press Freedom Conference.



Interested in attending WPFC 2020? Please click here to pre-register now. You will soon receive an email with directions on how to proceed further.


The media note with information for journalists who want to cover WPFC 2020 will be published in February. Journalists will also get the opportunity to register from that date onwards. WPFC 2020 organizers do not sponsor travel arrangements for media. In case of any questions in an earlier stage, please send an email to:  herman-van.Gelderen@minbuza.nl and o.castellanos@unesco.org



The concept note for this year’s World Press Freedom Day lays out current developments and points to ponder concerning the safeguarding of free and independent media.