Online High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context

When :

from Monday 4 May, 2020
to Monday 4 May, 2020

Type of event :

Category 7-Seminar and Workshop

Where :

Online, France

Contact :

Saorla McCabe (

UNESCO’s flagship event of World Press Freedom Day will bring together UN Secretary-General António Guterres, President of the Republic of Liberia George Weah, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, journalist Younes Mujahid, President of the International Federation of Journalists, Maria Ressa, investigative journalist from the Philippines, founder of the Rappler news website, and the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, alongside a number of other high level participants. Prominent Mexican-born American journalist Jorge Ramos moderated the debate.

A series of videos featured messages from Heads of State and Government, Ministers and other high-level figures.

The event was organized with the support of members of the Group of Friends of the Safety of Journalists at UNESCO.

Read the High-level Dialogue summary here



  • Use the occasion of World Press Freedom Day to draw global attention to the need for press freedom and independent journalism to provide reliable, life-saving information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primary Targets

  • Governments (advocacy); general public (awareness-raising)

Proposed Time

  • 4 May 2020, 17:00 – 18:30 CET 

Format & Participants

Moderated by a prominent journalist, the event was streamed live online through UNESCO's FacebookYoutube and Twitter. Following brief opening remarks by the UN Secretary-General and the UNESCO Director-General, the moderator led an open discussion between panelists on the following themes relating to the COVID-19 crisis:

  • The importance of journalism in navigating the crisis
  • Fighting misinformation and rumours
  • Journalists on the front lines: ensuring their health and safety
  • The role of governments: protecting press freedom and independent journalism
  • The role of social media and technology: supporting journalism and fighting misinformation