Celebrating World Press Freedom Day 2015
'Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, and Media Safety in the Digital Age' will be the theme as some 100 countries around the world mark the 2015 World Press Freedom Day with activities today into tomorrow.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is marking this year's celebration in Riga, Latvia, with a two-day conference and the awarding of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Recognising the critical importance of the public's access to information in a free and democratic society, the Press Association of Jamaica will be examining the use of the Access to Information Act by the Jamaican media during a panel discussion to observe the day.
The panel discussion will be held at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
"We are expecting a very dynamic and useful discussion," said PAJ President Dionne Jackson-Miller.
The Access to Information Act is an extremely important law that facilitates the work of journalists as watchdogs of the society, and a critical discussion of how it is being used will benefit the entire profession and the wider society, she added.
In the meantime, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, have issued a joint statement for World Press Freedom Day declaring that: "Quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society's development. It also works to expose injustice, corruption, and the abuse of power.
"Freedom of expression and press freedom are not luxury attributes that can wait until sustainable development has been achieved - it is an enabler for the enjoyment of all human rights and, therefore, vital to good governance and the rule of law."
UNESCO is focusing on three themes for World Press Freedom Day this year: The need for "quality journalism", reporting that is accurate and independent, remains a constant concern in a media landscape that is changing due to technological and commercial developments.
Gender imbalance continues in the media 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Change. All too few women journalists are able to reach decision-making positions in the media. For this reason, more than half of all the speakers at the conference will be women, executives and media professionals from all over the world.
The third theme is digital safety, a topic of growing concern because digital communications makes it difficult for journalists to protect themselves and their sources.