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IFEX unveils special website for World Press Freedom Day

A new IFEX website, available in English (and French and Spanish from 29 April), showcases exactly what our 88 members are doing and thinking about on World Press Freedom Day.

Consider some of the past week's headlines: "Two photojournalists killed, two seriously injured in mortar fire in Libya; Journalists still being harassed as protests get stronger in the Middle East; Another Sri Lankan journalist arrested." Every day across the world, journalists, editors and publishers are murdered, assaulted, detained or harassed. Their publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down.

So on each year on World Press Freedom Day —May 3 — IFEX members pause to recognise the sacrifices made in the struggle for freedom of expression, to celebrate the fundamental principles of media freedom, and to put pressure on the numerous countries that continue to deny their citizens this basic human right.

A new IFEX website, available in English (and French and Spanish from 29 April), showcases exactly what IFEX's 88 members are doing and thinking about on World Press Freedom Day. You'll find out how it is being commemorated around the world, and how you can get involved in your own community.

For instance, in New York, Index on Censorship has nabbed Julian Assange's attorney Mark Stephens to debate the fallout from WikiLeaks for free speech, national security and the media.

There will be much to discuss in Cairo as members run with UNESCO's official theme, "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers" and weigh the pros and cons of social media in the wake of their "Twitter revolution".

In Bangkok, members of the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and Thai Broadcast Journalists Association (TBJA) wish to stick a press freedom pin on the shirt of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to remind him of the importance of media freedom, when they have an audience with him and his cabinet on 3 May.

"A new website devoted to World Press Freedom Day is a great way to highlight the important work of IFEX members," says IFEX executive director Annie Game. "Seeing all these efforts housed in one place is impressive and speaks not only to the importance of the day but to the ongoing dedication of the network."

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the UN's Windhoek Declaration, which emphasises the importance of a free and diverse media to democracy and fundamental human rights. (The date of the declaration's adoption, 3 May, was subsequently declared World Press Freedom Day.) IFEX member the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) will be hosting a two-day conference in Windhoek, Namibia, to take a frank look at two decades of media freedom in Africa and what it means for the years to come.

Plus, the World Press Freedom Day site offers a full range of resources and materials by IFEX members, some of which you can download for free and republish yourself. Many members use the occasion to unveil their annual reports. Find out which countries are the most dangerous for journalists, who the enemies of press freedom are worldwide, and how your country ranks.

Be sure to take advantage of free posters, pictures and cartoons the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is offering around its own theme, "Silence kills democracy but a free press talks", all available in high resolution. As well, op-ed pieces are available in several languages by free expression heavyweights like renowned Tunisian writer Taoufik Ben Brik, the Elders, and David Drummond, Google's vice president.

In the count down to this year's events, please bookmark the site and visit it again in the run up to May 3 and beyond.

Date posted: May 3, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 112