Islamabad : Today is World Press Freedom Day which will be observed by around the world. There are many countries where freedom of the press is curtailed for various reasons, especially political ones and while the general public thinks there is enough freedom already, the press/media finds itself under pressure from different sources to stick to certain guidelines that are issued from time to time. ‘Freedom’ does not mean that those who are at the helm of affairs in media houses have the right to malign people or abuse their authority but to give facts and figures in the best interest of the people.
The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day or just World Press Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.
UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Created in 1997, the prize is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals. Names are submitted by regional and international non-governmental organisations working for press freedom, and by UNESCO member states.
The Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, on 17 December 1986. Cano’s writings had offended Colombia’s powerful drug barons.