Observed on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day serves as a reminder to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics as well as to support media professionals who are targets of restraint and censorship. World Press Freedom Day also acts to inform people of the violations of press freedom happening globally and to remind governments of their commitment to support and respect freedom of the press.
This year's World Press Freedom Day theme is "Journalism Under Digital Siege," which examines the challenges the media face and identifies solutions without compromising the integrity and independence of journalists globally. 3 May is also a day to pay tribute to those journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of journalistic freedom.
At Aspirall, we wholeheartedly stand behind press freedom and we believe that freedom of information and expression is a basic human right. To communicate authentically, freely and with courage are fundamental aspects of impactful and powerful leadership.
This year UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) will be examining concrete solutions to address the various threats journalists are facing.
Female journalist, Mae Azango believes investigative journalism is her “vehicle to drive change”. Azango writes for FrontPage Africa and is Liberia Director of New Narratives, a non-profit newsroom that builds news organizations in low-income countries. Azango is known for reporting on gender-based violence and the trafficking of women. Her courageous reporting on female genital mutilations contributed to the suspension of the practice in her country. Regardless of the threats to her life, Azango continues to speak up.
“As a former refugee whose rights were constantly violated while I was in exile, I have devoted my life to journalism that exposes human rights violations and gives audiences tools to fight for accountability and change.”
While World Press Freedom Day is about the importance to society of a free press, it stands as a symbol to us all that freedom of speech is a privilege, and it is up to each of us to play our part in creating a society that values and protects this for all people.
We invite you to reflect as we do on this day, as to how we can enable the strength, integrity and courage of leadership in ourselves and others that is required to create a world where Freedom of the Press and freedom of all people simply is.