On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO’s Project Office in Tunis and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Tunisia organized a conference on 6 May 2015 in Tunis.
On behalf of the Tunisian Government, Neji Jalloul, Minister of Education and President of the Tunisian National Commission for UNESCO, opened the conference. The event was attended by more than one hundred participants, including representatives of media and civil society, journalists, human rights activists, students, experts and lawyers.
David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, was the keynote speaker at the conference. “First of all, I would like to congratulate Tunisians for the work they have done, over the last four years, to change the law and the practices in their country, which is a model to other countries around the world,” he stated. “My second message is to keep up the momentum and to continue fighting for freedom of expression and against any type of state censorship. And my third message is to use all available tools to build a system of ethical journalism, which is an integral part of every democratic society,” he added.
The conference aimed at raising public awareness on the role of freedom of expression and of the press in the transitional period that Tunisia is undergoing. The debate focused on the progress and challenges in this domain, the current state of gender equality in the media and the security of journalists (online and offline).
“We participate in this event to support our colleagues facing difficulties. It is a great opportunity and very enriching to meet with civil society, journalists and media institutions. It is a very enriching occasion for freedom of expression defenders,” said one of participating journalists.
Students from the Tunis-based Institute for Press and Information Sciences (IPSI) compiled a special edition of a journal for the 2015 World Press Freedom Day in Tunisia (to download the journal, in Arabic, please click here).
UNESCO will continue strengthening awareness about the fundamental role of press freedom as an essential element for democracy, and calling upon all stakeholders to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
This activity received support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.