UNESCO puts artistic freedom in the spotlight on World Press Freedom Day
On 2-5 May 2022, UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay will host the annual World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, under the title “Journalism under Digital Siege”. This four-day event will highlight the impact of the digital era on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information, and privacy. It will also include two events putting the spotlight on artists at risk and artistic freedom in the digital sphere.
Today, digital platforms are among the main channels for artists to showcase, disseminate and sell their work. They have brought significant benefits for the cultural sector, enabling greater creativity and broader public access. But this increasing digitalization, accelerated by COVID-19 and lockdowns, has also raised challenges to artistic freedom and for artists. This includes surveillance, censorship, monitoring through algorithm and artificial intelligence, sometimes resulting in the erroneous removal of art works, or the deletion of accounts for artists who have grown thousands of followers. The precarious status of artists, compounded by a lack or excess of regulations on digital platforms, as well as the challenge of avenues for appeals, can lead artists to self-censorship and to loss of essential opportunities for their work, thus affecting the social and economic rights of artists, their livelihoods and those of their families.
As part of the conference, UNESCO, in collaboration with PEN America's Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and CECC-SICA, is organizing an online training workshop from 2-3 May 2022, held both in English and Spanish, for government officials and artist communities from the Central American region and Uruguay. Drawing upon the conclusions of the 2022 edition of the UNESCO Global Report “Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity – Addressing culture as a global public good”, this two-day training will focus on policies and measures to protect, promote and monitor artistic freedom in the digital sphere. It will also facilitate a better understanding of principles, emerging trends and challenges as well as UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments in this field (i.e.: 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist). The training workshop is supported by the UNESCO-Aschberg programme, which is generously funded by the Government of Norway.
Additionally, on 4 May 2022, there will be a panel discussion titled “Ensuring a diversity of free voices in the media”, following the endorsement of the principles of the Windhoek+30 Declaration on Information as a Public Good by UNESCO’s 41st General Conference. The Declaration calls on countries to commit to creating a positive enabling environment for the freedom of expression and access to information, including a free, independent, and pluralistic media, through adopting appropriate legal measures. The panel discussion will thus advocate for media diversity and the diversity of cultural contents in the media, by linking these principles to the protection and promotion of artistic freedom as a pre-condition for the diversity of voices in the media. The panel of experts will analyze and discuss global trends and present recommendations for governments and civil society.
Find out more about the event or how to participate click here.