World Press Freedom Day opens in Jakarta

World Press Freedom Day opens in Jakarta

A DCMF delegation is participating in the event "Critical Minds for Critical Times" highlighting the importance of quality, responsible journalism
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UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day celebration on “Critical Minds for Critical Times” opened in Jakarta yesterday, where officials highlighted the importance of defending quality, free and responsible journalism and promoting media and information literacy education for promoting peace around the world.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, vice-president of Indonesia, Mohammadsuf Kalla and director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova spoke about “the media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”

Kalla spoke about the need to protect press freedom in the face of the dangers posed by the spread of misinformation, extremism and hatred. 

He also highlighted the importance of raising awareness about these issues, and called on participants to do everything possible to promote justice equality and tolerance alongside media freedom in general.

"Governments need critical views, to ensure good governance and reflect the views of the people," he added.

During her opening address, Bokova noted: “We meet today in Jakarta to celebrate a freedom at the heart of all freedoms. This freedom is essential to empowering women and men, to bolstering good governance, to strengthening healthy societies, to advancing sustainable development and peace.”

She stressed the need for journalists to maintain independence and objectivity in their work, pointing out the significant dangers posed by media houses becoming partisan and biased.

Only by maintaining standards of professionalism and objectivity can media resist the onslaught of misinformation and propaganda currently being produced and shared through various online media platforms and other means.

Bokova emphasised the need for media to report reliable information but also provide a platform for different views to be presented and contribute towards dialogue, tolerance and pluralism.

“The difficult times require critical minds,” she said, adding “we call for more reflection in order to defend the freedoms that are necessary for justice and peace. This is UNESCO's message on World Press Freedom Day.”

Guillermo Cano award ceremony

HE Joko Widodo later hosted the ceremony to award the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 to Dawit Isaak, the Eritrean-Swedish journalist who has been imprisoned in Eritrea since 2001.

The award was collected on his behalf by his daughter, Bethelem.

Widodo discussed the challenged facing media freedom around the world, but expressed confidence in being able to deal with them, stating: “We will overcome, we have done it before and we shall do it again.”

Irina Bokova added: “This is the spirit underpinning the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize - to shine light on those who stand for fundamental freedoms and human rights, despite all pressures – and this spirit is carried forward by Dawit Isaak, whose courage and commitment we honour today.”

Bethelem echoed these sentiments, noting the importance of defending freedom of expression in protecting human rights, justice and stability.

“This prize is recognition of my father’s work and all those who have chosen to stand up for the rights of others,” she said, urging “let us all keep our dignity and be tolerant.”

A number of notable speakers also addressed participants at the conference, including former President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize winner, José Ramos-Horta; vice-president of news at Google, Richard Gingras; and editor of Mexican newspaper, Norte, which had to close last month after one its journalists was killed, Oscar Cantu Murguia.






All rights reserved, Doha Centre for Media Freedom 2017

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