Democracy a shadow of itself without press freedom — UNESCO, UNIC
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says democracy is a shadow of itself without press freedom.
Mr Philippe Delange, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja said this at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day organised by UNESCO, in collaboration with UN Information Centre (UNIC),on Friday in Abuja.
The 2023 World Press Freedom Day had the theme: “Shaping a Future of Rights:Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all Other Human Rights.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Press Freedom Day was established by the UN General Assembly to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press.
NAN reports that the day is also to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.
The day also coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of Vienna Conference Programme of Action on Human Rights.
Delange said: “Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democratic society.
“Without a debate of ideas, without verified facts, without diversity of perspectives, democracy is a shadow of itself and World Press Freedom Day was established to remind us of this.
“For the international community, it is first and foremost a question of combating the impunity that still surround crimes of which journalists are victims, with nearly nine out of ten murders of journalists going unpunished.”
Delange also said the UN had the Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which UNESCO had been leading for ten years.
According to him, the action plan ensured that independent media can continue to exist.