World Press Freedom Day: Call to protect freedom of expression

UNESCO Ramallah Office celebrated World Press Freedom Day 2015 in the West Bank and Gaza, with events held in Gaza and in Ramallah within the framework of UNESCO’s Networks of Mediterranean Youth project (NET-MED Youth), funded by the European Union. This year celebration benefited from the co-financing of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

In Gaza, on 4 May 2015 the event was organized in cooperation with the Press House-Palestine, who hosted a Photo Exhibition "Panorama Gaza", while in Ramallah, a cultural night and a photo exhibition was held on 7 May 2015, where journalists/photographers from West Bank and Gaza were featuring aspects of the Palestinian culture. Both events included a number of artistic and cultural performances where over 300 persons participated and joined UNESCO in celebrating this international day and promoting freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of information which was established and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1993.

“The main celebration this year took place in the city of Riga in Latvia under a global theme (Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, and Media Safety in the Digital Age)” said Mr. Junaid Sorosh, Culture Programme Specialist on behalf of the head of UNESCO Ramallah Office Mr. Lodovico Folin-Calabi. “A free press is at the very core of the right to free expression, providing a frontline defense for safeguarding access to knowledge and information, as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mr. Sorosh added.

At the end of both events, UNESCO congratulated the journalists on their universal day and stressed on its commitment to contribute to raising the awareness on freedom of expression as a right that is instrumental in achieving all the other goals and the role of free independent media, as a pillar of a democratic society, build the capacities of different media institutions and promote knowledge sharing and networking to enhance the professional media, and promote ethical standards in reporting through self-regulation mechanisms.

For further information, please contact Majd Beltaji, Public Information Officer of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah at m.beltaji(at)unesco.org