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Information as a public good

According to Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Audrey Azoulay, the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Information as a Public Good”, “underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.”

May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about the issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in pursuit of a story.

World Press Freedom Day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

This year’s theme underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.

An informed society that considers this information that is a public good valuable depends on a responsible media and a government that both values truth and is open to criticism. In the past, both used to fight side by side in the defense of press freedom and society benefited. Just as the world needs its sources of verified and reliable information from a free and responsible media, it also needs leaders who see the media as partners instead of obstacles in achieving their vision for their nation.*

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