Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Press Freedom Day

3 May

3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.

At the core of UNESCO's mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.

It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.



World Press Freedom Conference 2020 has been postponed over uncertainties surrounding travel. Please refer to the FAQs for more information


In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, in close consultation with UNESCO, has decided to postpone the World Press Freedom Conference 2020. The organizers’ main concern is to guarantee the health of everyone involved and ensure a high level of attendance from stakeholders around the world.

UNESCO and The Netherlands had planned to hold the World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC) from 22 to 24 April at the World Forum in The Hague. The conference is now scheduled for 18 to 20 October at the same venue. It will be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November).

The decision to postpone the conference has been taken to minimize costs and risks for all involved, in the wake of the decision by the World Health Organization, announced on 11 March, to declare COVID-19 a global pandemic.

The planning of the conference was well underway, with more than 1,000 registered participants and 60 confirmed sessions scheduled to take place over the course of three days. The programme included the first-ever international forum of legal actors, an academic conference on the safety of journalists, a press freedom festival targeting youth, and the award ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, among many other sessions. The most important networks of media stakeholders had already confirmed their attendance. The conference organizers invite all partners to continue their engagement with this event and will work towards ensuring the same programme with an even greater level of participation in October.

UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
The Laureate of the 2020 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be announced on 3 May. The award ceremony will take place at the Conference in The Hague in October.

World Press Freedom Day
National and local celebrations of World Press Freedom Day will take place around the world on 3 May. Some of the events will take the form of online debates and workshops. UNESCO will be launching a global campaign on media and social media for World Press Freedom Day (3 May).

About the World Press Freedom Conference
Organized annually since 1993, the WPFD Global Conference provides an opportunity to journalists, civil society representatives, national authorities, academics and the broader public to discuss emerging challenges to press freedom and journalists’ safety and work together on identifying solutions.
The Netherlands is the host for 2020. The conference lasts three days and will attract 1,500-2,000 visitors from all over the world.
More information: Please check the FAQs for more information.