Lessons learned from World Press Freedom Day at UN Headquarters

11 May

Commemorating the journalists who have been losing their lives in the constant battle for truth, several UN delegations and journalists from various media outlets, traditional and new media, participated in the recent World Press Freedom Day at the UN headquarters.

A call for the revision of Security Council Resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists that was unanimously adopted in 2006 and sponsored by France and Greece was proposed by Delphine Halgand, Washington DC Director from Reporters without Borders. The proposal comes at a time when the fatalities among media representatives is still shocking, especially since more than 500 journalists were killed within the past ten years, 63 in 2011 while 161 were jailed. Even within the first five months of 2012, fatalities continue with 21 journalists already killed.

The events accompanying World Press Freedom Day at the UN detailed the ongoing lack of protection for journalists in conflict zones and the sometimes deliberate killings of media professionals who, in their role as watchdogs, can traditionally facilitate social change.

At the same time panelists were discussing the impact and potential of social media helping social progress, not ignoring the actual danger of fact falsification through social media outlets. Guest speaker Amy Goodman from the independent news outlet “Democracy Now” discussed the status quo of corporate media in the United States and their actual lack of commitment to press freedom and balanced reporting. “The press could be the greatest force of peace on earth,” she said.

Overall, it was an informative day that inspired discussions that should not remain mere points of debate, but urgently need to be translated into legislation for the protection of truth on behalf of peace.

-Lia Petridis Maiello


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