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.

With COVID-19, journalism faces new challenges just when the world needs it most. Read the lastest UNESCO reports:

New report on Press Freedom and Disinformation

New report on Media Capture



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.


At a time when we are mired in worry and uncertainty because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, free information is essential to helping us face, understand, think about and overcome this crisis. We must consider the vital importance of information in this situation: informing the public means giving everyone the means of combatting the illness by adopting appropriate practices. This is why the Organization has teamed up with the rest of the United Nations family to fight the “infodemic” of rumours and disinformation which is exacerbating the pandemic and putting lives at risk. To help put an end to the problem, we have joined forces to promote two major social-media campaigns, Together for Facts, Science and Solidarity and Don’t Go Viral. — Extract from the Message by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

Download the written complete message : 

English | Français | Español | Русский | العربية | 中文


30 April: Launch of the joint Declaration of Special Rapporteurs

3 May,  17:00 - 20:00 CET (GMT+2): Difference Day

UNESCO celebrated Work Press Freedom Day together with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and many other partners. Click here for more information.

4 May,  17:00 - 18:30 CET (GMT+2): High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context

UNESCO Director-General was joined by senior representatives of Member States, tech companies’ executives, journalists and NGO representatives in this online event. Read the event re-cap.

Read the High-level Dialogue summary.

Watch the transmission through UNESCO's social media accounts:

Facebook: EN / FR / SP

Twitter: EN / FR SP

Youtube: EN / FR / SP

5 May, 14:00 - 15:45 CET (GMT+2): Media Independence in Times of Crisis: A Webinar for World Press Freedom Day 2020

An animated online discussion with leading journalists to present a preview of the forthcoming UNESCO World Media Trends In Focus Report: ‘Reporting Facts: Free from Fear or Favour’.

Click here for more information. Read the report's preview.

7 May, 15:00 - 16:45 CET (GMT+2) Online discussion:  Safety of journalists amid COVID-19 - A multifaceted challenge 

– organized by the International Civil Society Safety of Journalists Coalition, IMS and UNESCO. 



Journalism, Press Freedom and COVID-19

With COVID-19, journalism faces new challenges just when the world needs it most. Read the UNESCO issue brief.



UNESCO and the Netherlands had planned to hold the World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC) from 22 to 24 April in The Hague. However, because of the COVID-19 crisis the conference has been postponed and will now take place from 18 to 20 October. 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).