#GreenBuzzWeekly World Press Freedom Day

Editor’s note: This post is part of the on-going collaboration between S&S and GreenBuzz Berlin to promote increased dialogue between sustainability practitioners, academic experts, and the general public. GreenBuzz chapters in different cities coordinate on-the-ground events for a word-of-mouth driven community of professionals engaged in sustainability, bringing sustainability leaders together to connect with each other and to discuss specific sustainability topics. #GreenBuzzWeekly informs about the most important international days and events connected to the themes of sustainable development. Everybody can learn about hot topics discussed in the UN, last reports of World Economic Forum, current campaigns of various NGOs around the world.

The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”.

May 3rd recognizes the fundamental principles of press freedom. On this day the international community celebrates press freedom around the world, defends the media from attacks on their independence and pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. May 3rd  was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.

In 2008 UNESCO funded research by the Centre for Peace and Human Security (CPHS) at Sciences Po University focused on an analysis of freedom of the press and the different dimensions of development, poverty, governance and peace. The study’s main results confirm the importance of press freedom for development; “there is a ‘good’ correlation between press freedom and the different dimensions of development, poverty and governance”. A very robust link exists between per capita GDP and press freedom. The evidence suggests that the press can also play a part in improving health conditions. In countries where there is no press freedom, the share of GDP spent on health is low. Additionally, press freedom is positively correlated with education. Countries where press freedom exists have high rates of primary and secondary enrolment. Along with other indicators of good governance, there is suggestive evidence that press freedom creates an environment favorable for sustainable development.

This year UNESCO and the Government of Finland will co-host the World Press Freedom Day’s main event which will take place in Helsinki, Finland, from 2-4 May 2016. World Press Freedom Day 2016 is organized under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö. Unsurprisingly, Finland is ranked as the top country for freedom of the press in 2016 among 180 countries by Reporters without Borders. The second place is taken by the Netherlands; Norway is third. Meanwhile, the bottom three are Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

Image Credit: Patrick Marlone via Flickr.


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