World Press Freedom Day 2011
Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. This year, for the first time, World Press Freedom Day was held in the United States.
From May 1-3, 2011, 800 journalists, freedom of expression advocates, and new media innovators gathered to discuss this year's theme – 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. IREX served as a member of the Executive Committee that organized this year's event, together with the Center for International Media Assistance, the UN Foundation, and the US Department of State, working closely with UNESCO as the convener of this annual event. Major funders included the Knight Foundation, the Omidyar Network, UNESCO, the Open Society Institute, and Google. The complete list of donors is available here. Videos of most sessions are available on-line.
• May 3 was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991.
• It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
• It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favor of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
• It serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.