On 4 May, UNESCO New Delhi, in collaboration with the European Union Delegation for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) organized a regional event to commemorate the 2022 World Press Freedom Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The event aimed to provide a platform for advocacy and engagement with the media stakeholders to promote an ‘ethically strong free media culture’ for Sri Lanka and the region. The programme also featured a panel discussion on the global theme ‘Journalism under Digital Siege’, ’with media experts from Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“South Asia has seen a dramatic growth in digital media usage in recent years, which has been further accentuated by the pandemic. This can be seen as an opportunity to engage with a larger section of people, but it also came with the menace of misinformation and increased the struggles of traditional media to survive in this digital age.”
“Safety of journalists is our priority. In the era of social media, press freedom is harder to define but more important than ever. It is the ultimate test of our accountability.”
The South Asia Press Freedom Report for 2022 entitled ‘Strength and Solidarity: The Story of South Asia’ was also launched at the event. The report is produced annually by International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) with UNESCO support.
“Digital advances and surveillance has exacerbated risk faced by the journalists. We recognize the efforts journalists take in pursuit of a story. The protection must extend to journalists, media workers, citizen journalists, human rights defenders, et al. From this platform, we call for the safety and protection of all these actors.”
“The World Press Freedom Day reiterates the need for media freedom and social responsibility in these constantly changing environments. The growing adaptation and shift to the digital space both by traditional and digital journalism expose journalists and media to different forms of threats in addition to its existing complexities.”
On 2-5 May 2022, UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay hosted the annual World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in a hybrid format in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Under the global theme “Journalism under Digital Siege”, the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy were discussed.
Every year on 3 May, UNESCO celebrates World Press Freedom Day with the aim to reflect on the commitment to press freedom and professional ethics among media professionals. It is also 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.
UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity building and a range of actions, notably in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
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