Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Press freedom, social media and the citizen

UNESCO World Press Freedm Day

Volume 19, Issue 2

October, 2013

From page
to page
Pearson, M. (2013). UNESCO World Press Freedom Day: Press freedom, social media and the citizen. Pacific Journalism Review, 19(2), 215-227.
UNESCO World Press Freedom Day Lecture
Author(s): Mark Pearson
Publication date: 
October, 2013

On 3 May, 2013, AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre marked the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day with the inaugural event in New Zealand. The event was initiated by UNESCO’s Programme for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace with the first seminar on ‘Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Media’ in Windhoek, Namibia, on 3 May, 1993. The journalists participating in that event drew up the Windhoek Declaration which highlighted that press freedom should be understood as a media system that is free, pluralistic and independent. They insisted that that this dispensation was essential for democracy and development. The Declaration became a landmark document in the fight for press freedom around the world. This address argues that new ethical codes of practice are now needed that are inclusive of serious bloggers and citizen journalists. The author of this address states: ‘The printing press spawned free expression’s offspring—the right of “press freedom”—as pamphleteers fought censorship by governments in the ensuing centuries. Events are unfolding much more quickly now. It would be an historic irony and a monumental shame if press freedom met its demise through the sheer pace of irresponsible truth-seeking and truth-telling today’.

Watch the lecture on the Pacific Media Centre YouTube channel