Ghana Celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Ghana will today join the rest of the world to mark this year's World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

The event would be spearheaded by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), at the Ghana International Press Centre, in Accra, according to a press statement, issued and signed by the Vice President of the association, Linda Asante-Agyei, yesterday.

She said that this year's celebration will provide a platform to dialogue on issues within the Ghanaian media space, including media freedom and COVID -19 and media ownership and regulation.

Other topics to be discussed are new media/traditional media, safety of journalists amidst a polarised environment, broadcasting bill and switching from analogue to digitalisation technology.

This year's WPFD marks the 30th anniversary of the UNESCO Windhoek Declaration, for the development of a free, independent and pluralistic press, which led to the recognition by the United Nations (UN) of the WPFD, to be celebrated every May 3.

Celebrated annually on May 3, the event is to observe the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom in the world, and defend the media from attacks on their independence.

It is also to pay tribute to journalists for their efforts and struggle in the exercise of their profession.

This year's celebration is on the theme "30 Years after the Windhoek Declaration: Information as a Public Good."

The theme, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind.

It further recognises the changing communications system that was impacting on health, human rights, democracies and sustainable development across the world.

The Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azulay, explained that the theme underlined the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information.

She emphasised the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.

"After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing. The importance of freely accessing reliable information, particularly through journalism, has been demonstrated by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: in times of crisis such as this, information can be a matter of life or death," Ms Azulay added.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic has placed journalists and quality journalism and public interest media at the center of the global discourse.

Ms Azulay said that reporting on the pandemic, through the popularisation of scientific facts, the compilation and frequent updating of data and fact-checking or monitoring spending, has proved vital.

She condemned the closure of media houses and attack on journalists for carrying out their work.

Ms Azulay said "UNESCO calls on all partners, to renew their commitment to the fundamental right to freedom of expression, to defend media workers, and to ensure that information remains a public good".

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