Doha Centre for Media Freedom participated in UNESCO’s celebrations of World Press Freedom Day that were held in Latvia from May 3 to May 4.
The conference which was held under the slogan “Let Journalism Thrive,” focused on developing an independent press, digital safety of journalists and gender equality in media.
The conference was inaugurated by Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova and Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, and was attended by a number of delegations representing different media and civil society organisations as well as media experts from numerous countries.
Falling on May 3 each year, World Press Freedom Day offers the opportunity to recognise the work that journalists and media organisations are doing to protect media freedom across the globe, and provides a chance to reflect on the serious threats and danger under which many international journalists have to carry out their work.
During the inauguration address, Rinkēvičs lauded UNESCO’S efforts in advocating media freedom.
He also pointed out that "Latvia strives to strengthen the culture of media freedom".
On her part, Bokova pointed out to the rising number of violations against the journalists in 2014.
"The work of journalists exposes them to danger of violence and harassment. The danger might come from parties other than states, such as terrorist groups and criminal organisations." Bokova said, stressing the necessity of enabling the press to prosper in proper conditions that allow the journalists to work independently.
Bokova called for more involvement of women in journalism and the provision of more protection for the rights of female journalists.
She also called for halting violence against female journalists
During the two-day conference, DCMF organised a panel discussion on “Media and Information Literacy - What Solutions Can It Offer?” The session focused on how to critically evaluate information and news content, how to self-protect against intrusion on one’s technological devices and how to combat online hate speech, discrimination, cyberbullying, and digital defamation.
DCMF’s delegation, headed by Executive Committee Member and Acting Director Abdulrahman Nasser Al-Obaidan, took part in the several activities lined up during the conference. The centre also set up a booth which informed the attendees of the various programmes of the centre and its publications.
The delegation was joined by two junior reporters who covered the event activities.
Apart from the panel discussions, the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honoured a person, organisation or institution that had made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.
The winner of the 2015 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was Syrian journalist and human rights activist, Mazen Darwish, who was awarded with $25,000.