World Press Freedom Day

03 May 2001

Today, May 3, is the tenth annual World Press Freedom Day.

We in the advertising business who work closely with the press would do well to remember that our efforts are all too often printed on the reverse of news items obtained at great personal risk and sacrifice.

As at December 31, 2000, eighty-one journalists remained in prison in eighteen countries. Fifty-two were killed during the year.

In 1991 the General Assembly of the United Nations formally declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day. Ten years on there is scant cause for celebration or complacency.

Two leaders of major Western democracies voiced their support …

“Democracy is impossible without freedom of the press, for freedom of the press is the basis of democracies. Complex controversies cannot be solved without freedom of the press, as questions must be aired. Freedom of the press is one of the major building blocks in a democracy.”
Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

“A free press will sometimes make uncomfortable reading for any politician. But any passing embarrassment or justified indignation must never blind us to its vital role in both the health and protection of democracy. Those who wish to destroy democracy and its freedoms know this well. It is why their first act is often to try to muzzle the media. It is also why we must all be vigilant in safeguarding the freedom of the press at home and abroad.”
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain

News source: World Association of Newspapers