World Press Freedom Day Handover Ceremony
The World Press Freedom Day Handover ceremony took place at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris on 9 April 2019, in the presence of the 2018 and 2019 host countries, Ghana and Ethiopia. The 2019 edition of World Press Freedom Day will be jointly organized by UNESCO, the Government of Ethiopia, and the African Union in Addis Ababa on 1 – 3 May. Over one thousand journalists, activists, government representatives and personalities from all over the world are expected in Addis Ababa for this event, which will be centered on the theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”.
UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Moez Chakchouk, opened the ceremony, acknowledging the Republic of Ghana’s “involvement and commitment” in ensuring the success of the 2018 edition.
“The Ethiopian government’s agreement to host the 2019 event is an important representation of the positive changes underway” in the country, he continued. He also acknowledged the unique partnership with the African Union for this year’s celebration, both as host and as co-organiser. “This will further strengthen the impact of the event, in particular on the African continent”, he noted.
H.E. Ambassador Anna Bossman of Ghana expressed her joy at passing the mantle to Ethiopia for the 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. Ghana continues to uphold freedom of expression and media independence, with the security of journalists being one of its “major preoccupations”. Deputy Minister of Information Hon. Nana Dokua Asiamah-Adjei drew the assembly’s attention to the passing of a Right to Information Law in Ghana in March 2019, which fulfilled a promise made by the country’s President, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo during the 2018 edition of World Press Freedom Day.
Closing the ceremony, Ethiopian ambassador H.E. Henok Teferra stated that hosting the event represents an “immense honor” for Ethiopia. “The choice of Ethiopia as host of this prestigious event is a testimony of the confidence of the international community in the unprecedented and profound democratic transformation which has been initiated by our Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and which is currently taking root in our country", he said.
H.E. Henok Teferra then received a statue of a golden eagle from Hon. Nana Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, to mark the handover. The Golden Eagle, she told the audience, represents the eagle on the Ghanaian Coat of Arms, with the gong it holds symbolizing the dissemination of Information in Ghana.
The handover was attended by numerous representatives of Member States attending the Organization’s 206th Executive Board session, who were invited to enjoy a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The Minister of Education of Ethiopia, Hon. Telayé Gété, was among the attendees.
For more information about World Press Freedom Day, please visit the official website: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldpressfreedomday.