Today is World Press Freedom Day! Let’s all join hands and continue to advocate for press freedom. Journalists play an important role in society. They relay information that allows us to make better decisions about our lives, our leaders and the direction that we would like our societies to take among others. Celebrating the fundamental principles of press freedom and ensuring that they are upheld has multidimensional benefits. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said, “A fundamental right on its own, freedom of expression also provides the conditions for protecting and promoting all other human rights. But its exercise does not happen automatically; it requires a safe environment for dialogue, where all can speak freely and openly, without fear of reprisal.”
Reporters Without Borders have produced the map below that shows the state of press freedom globally. It is quite alarming that only a handful of countries are classified as having a “good situation” in terms of their press freedom. We still have a long way to go.
Today we pay tribute to all the journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. We salute all the journalists out there who report on stories while being respectful and showing compassion to the people they write about. We urge governments to support and actively ensure freedom of the press. To the shoddy journalists who give other journalists a bad name – remember there is always room to pull up your socks.
Here’s a piece on A day in the life of a Somali journalist by Hamza Mohamed.