International Community Marks World Press Freedom Day

International Community Marks World Press Freedom Day

The United Nations has designated May 3 World Press Freedom Day, which “acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment” to upholding the rights of journalists. The occasion is also meant to highlight the media’s essential work and to commemorate reporters killed in pursuit of stories. According to UNESCO, the coronavirus has presented journalists with new challenges, including the need to protect balance protecting their health while tackling issues on the front lines in COVID-19 “hot spots.” Moreover, government-imposed restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus have threatened to curtail the ability of journalists to operate optimally, especially in authoritarian countries where regimes have been accused of downplaying the extent of the contagion. “At a time when we are mired in worry and uncertainty because of [COVID-19], free information is essential to helping us face, understand, think about and overcome this crisis,” Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, said in advance of World Press Freedom Day. She stressed that there was a need to fight an “infodemic” of disinformation that is “exacerbating the pandemic and putting lives at risk.”

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