Among the highlights will be the presentation of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The award ceremony will be held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. The Prize, created in 1997, is awarded annually to a person, organization or institution that has made an important contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom, anywhere in the world, especially if it involved taking risks.
An international conference will also be held in Washington from 1-3 May on the theme for the Day, organised by UNESCO, the U.S State Department and over 20 civil society partners. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a leading funder of the event, which will be supported by private donations. The conference will be held at the Newseum, which is a museum devoted to the history of the press and to freedom of expression worldwide. Discussions will focus on the increasing role of the internet, the emergence of new media and the dramatic rise in social networking. For a complete list of the organizations welcoming this dialogue and volunteering to support the co-hosts in organization of the event, click here.
A special event is planned for 4 May at United Nations headquarters in New York to mark the 20th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration. Adopted in 1991 after a conference held in Windhoek (Namibia) on the development of a free African press, this declaration emphasizes the importance of an independent press for the development and preservation of democracy and economic development. Two years later, the UN General Assembly established World Press Freedom Day.
This anniversary will be celebrated in Windhoek with a regional conference to review the future of the media in Africa. A publication, “So this is media freedom? 20 years after the Windhoek Declaration on press freedom”, analysing two decades of media freedom in Africa, will be launched.
In the Arab States, UNESCO and the satellite network Al Jazeera will work together to host a series of events to mark the Day.
UNESCO is also encouraging all those who are celebrating World Press Freedom Day to observe a minute of silence in memory of the journalists who have given their lives for our right to be informed.