|World Press Freedom Day|
Statement by the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt and Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism
May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day – a time to talk about violations of press freedom. It is a time to remember that, in dozens of countries around the world, the media is censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered. Just as importantly, it is a time to encourage and develop initiatives in support of press freedom and to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world.
World Press Freedom Day was established in 1991 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Department of Public Information at a conference in Windhoek, Namibia. It was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.
Article 19 of the 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 to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’
In Canada, multicultural, community and mainstream media are essential to all of us – imparting important information on issues and events of concern at interest to Canadians.
In the last year, the world has witnessed unprecedented social and political revolution. The established media and social media played important roles in helping to bring about social change and record these historic developments as they occurred.
Freedom of the media is an integral part of our fundamental rights. Journalists make important contributions to freedom of expression, democracy and peace. Yet, media freedom is fragile. UNESCO reports that so far, in 2012, twenty-one journalists were assassinated.
In 2011, 103 journalists were killed for their work and many more detained, threatened or beaten.
World Press Freedom Day is a time to reflect upon the sacrifices brave men and women have made, throughout the years, telling important stories about events that shape our world.
Jim Karygiannis 5/3/2012