You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) using Archive-It. This page was captured on 01:51:41 Dec 05, 2020, and is part of the UNESCO collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Loading media information hide

Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Press Freedom Day

3 May

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.

With COVID-19, journalism faces new challenges just when the world needs it most. Read the latest UNESCO reports:

Report on Press Freedom and Disinformation

Report on Media Capture


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.


At a time when we are mired in worry and uncertainty because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, free information is essential to helping us face, understand, think about and overcome this crisis. We must consider the vital importance of information in this situation: informing the public means giving everyone the means of combatting the illness by adopting appropriate practices. This is why the Organization has teamed up with the rest of the United Nations family to fight the “infodemic” of rumours and disinformation which is exacerbating the pandemic and putting lives at risk. To help put an end to the problem, we have joined forces to promote two major social-media campaigns, Together for Facts, Science and Solidarity and Don’t Go Viral. — Extract from the Message by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

Download the written complete message : 

English | Français | Español | Русский | العربية | 中文


World Press Freedom Conference 2020 to take the form of a global digital conference on 9 and 10 December


UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands wish to announce that the World Press Freedom Conference 2020 (WPFC 2020) will take place on 9 and 10 December 2020 in a new, innovative format, merging digital and in-person elements. This WPFC will jointly celebrate World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November). The conference, co-hosted by UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands was originally planned for 22 to 24 April 2020. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, WPFC was later postponed to October 2020 but had to be rescheduled once more. 

Especially now, in times of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a free press is essential in helping us cope, understand and overcome the crisis. This makes it all the more necessary to come together on 9 and 10 December to stand up for a free, independent press and the safety of journalists.



Journalism without Fear or Favour

The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour‘, a phrase coined by Adolph S. Ochs, founder of the modern New York Times. WPFC seeks to promote the idea that we need to stand up for a free, safe and independent media and protect journalism from new and existing forms of unwanted control, pressure and influence. In addition, with more than 1,100 journalists killed in the world from 2006 to 2019 according to UNESCO, and only one case out of ten judicially solved, the level of impunity for crimes against journalists remains terribly high. This imposes a climate of fear in many parts of the world, which is ultimately detrimental to the free circulation of ideas and opinions by both the media and citizens at large. With the independence, safety and freedom of the media under attack in so many countries, and with the COVID-19 pandemic revealing once again just how important a free, safe and independent media is, it this is now more relevant than ever to stand up for these issues.


Global digital conference

This year’s conference aims to digitally bring together the professional community of journalists, media companies, human rights defenders, members of the judiciary (including judges, lawyers and prosecutors) policymakers, academics and NGOs, and to connect them to a large global audience that can actively participate online. WPFC 2020 will be a highly interactive and participatory conference, merging digital and in-person elements. With livestreamed interactive sessions, keynote speeches and performances, people all over the world will be able to participate at times most convenient for them. Sessions will be broadcast from the World Forum in The Hague and multiple other locations around the world.


Meeting and networking

WPFC 2020 will seek to ensure the highest quality and variety in sessions, ranging from debates and live talk shows to presentations and interactive panel discussions. Participants will interact and discuss the latest issues in live sessions and connect through video chats and other virtual meeting points. On top of this, participants will also be able to explore a wide range of other content, including online exhibitions, film viewings and videos.


Check our website regularly for all updates, programme details, speakers and other news. Also follow us on social media:

- Twitter.com/unesconow
- YouTube.com/unesco
- Instagram.com/unesconow