Art under Pressure - Advocating for artistic freedom at World Press Freedom Day in Ethiopia


Can media play a part in building peace and promoting reconciliation?

Under the topic “Media for Democracy”, World Press Freedom Day 2019 will address the current challenges faced by media in elections. The global conference, jointly organized by UNESCO, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the African Union, will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1-3 May 2019).

For creative sectors and democratic societies to function, it takes more than free, independent and pluralistic media. Freedom of creation and artistic expression not only complements the media, but also help societies flourish.

At the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO puts the spotlight on artistic freedom issues through two panel discussions. “Artistic freedom and freedom of expression at the tip of the pen” (Session 11 on 3 May, 14h-15h30), co-organized with Cartooning for Peace, invites cartoonists from around the world – Ivory Coast, South Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan, France, Denmark and Malaysia –  to discuss the role of artists in electoral contexts. “Enlarging choices: Artistic freedom and Diversity of Contents” (Session 15 on 3 May, 16h-17h30) addresses the role of new cooperation and exchange platforms, increasingly used to counter mobility restrictions that artists face. The panellists who bring together international perspectives are Danielle Cliche, Chief of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions UNESCO), Brahim El Mazned (Morocco), Director of Visa for Music festival, Henok Mebratu (Ethiopia), Film Director, and Meaza Worku (Ethiopia), Playwright.

In addition to the two panel discussions, UNESCO will also organize a two-day national workshop (1-2 May) for civil society organisations and government officials from Ethiopia on policies and measures to promote and monitor artistic freedom. The workshop will be facilitated by Ole Reitov, former Executive Director of Freemuse and member of UNESCO’s Expert Facility.

The activities organized during World Press Freedom Day are implemented within the framework of the UNESCO-Aschberg programme for artists and cultural professionals, a programme which focuses in particular on the promotion of mobility of artists and artistic freedom through research, advocacy and technical assistance.

Event date: 
01/05/2019 - 08:30 to 03/05/2019 - 18:30
Location: African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia