Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms in Jordan

UNESCO celebrates World Press Freedom Day 2016

Amman, 8 May 2016 – “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!” - This topic was discussed at the World Press Freedom Day2016 commemoration organized by UNESCO on Sunday 8 May and hosted by the Royal Film Commission in Amman. Under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali, UNESCO facilitated adiscussion on the link between freedom of expression, access to information, and the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentin the digital age at the well-attended event.

“A free, independent and professional media landscape is a critical building block in the process of democracy and sustainable development,” said Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative in Jordan, during the event. Quoting from the message issued by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, she added:
“Last year, the world agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to guide all efforts over the new fifteen years, to end poverty, to protect the planet, and to ensure prosperity and lasting peace for all. The new Sustainable Development Goals include a target on public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms -- two interrelated objectives that are key accelerators of progress across all of the new agenda.”

The interconnectedness of press freedom and sustainable development is made for the first time this year, following the adoption in late 2015 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which recognize the need to “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements,” (SDG 16. 10).

Every year, on 3 May the international community gathers to celebrate World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world and pay full tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

As in 2015,UNESCO Amman Office again celebrated the event, which was co-sponsored through the EU funded project“Support to Media in Jordan”,with an open and livelydebate on issues related to the Jordanian media context, while global celebrations took place from 2-4 May in Helsinki, Finland.

''The EU works with the Ministry of State for Media Affairs and with UNESCO and other media sector representatives on reforming the media sector in Jordan through the EU-funded Project ‘Support to Media in Jordan’," HE Andrea MatteoFontana, EU ambassador to Jordan, noted.

The WPFD celebrations coincided with three other important milestones: The 250th anniversary of the world’sfirst freedom of information law, covering both modern-day Sweden and Finland; the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the “Windhoek Declaration” of press freedom principles and the first year of the 15-year life cycle of the new Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For more information on World Press Freedom Day, please visit: http://en.unesco.org/world-press-freedom-day-2016