Monday, May 3, 2010

World Press Freedom Day 2010, after a deadly month for journalists

This year's World Press Freedom Day, marked on May 3 every year, bears particular pertinence after the highest monthly death toll for journalists in five years.

According to the official site supporters worldwide of media freedom "celebrate the fundamental principles of press and media freedom that are articulated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." The day was officially designated by the United Nations General Assembly and is hosted by UNESCO, this year in Brisbane, Australia, a list of the speakers here.
This year's theme is freedom of information, which is after all, one of the founding principles of journalism. The spectrum of a journalist's role, working conditions and function in society is vast, pertaining to the level of freedom and development in the country they operate in. But, also dependent upon the chosen role of said journalist.

Some hacks risk death and violence in the effort to bring the public information, to empower them with the truth and grant them the opportunity to question and make informed decisions.

Those journalists should be honoured today, 17 of them died last month, according to the Newspaper Publishers' Association, that link includes more detailed info on April's killings. The International News Safety Institute has recorded in total some 1,500 violent deaths in the past 14 years.

Amnesty International recently took the step to issue its own plea to the Honduran government, after a spate of journalist killings; six in eight weeks during March and April.

"Targeting journalists in this way suffocates freedom of expression, denies the Honduran population access to information, and of course also violates journalists' right to life," said Esther Major, Amnesty International's Central America Researcher.

Reporters without borders have issued their own report, a list of the top "forty predators of press freedom."
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