World Press Freedom Day 2004

03 May 2004

Today, Monday May 3 is World Press Freedom Day.

It is regrettably easy in the daily mêlée of the advertising and marketing business to forget that the press ads we create are sometimes backed (literally) by reportage that risks -- and tragically often costs -- journalists' lives.

In 2003 alone there were fifty-three such deaths. And not only in frontline battle zones. Some were deliberate murders by repressive regimes or criminal organizations.

Many more journalists -- one hundred and thirty-four as at December 31 -- were languishing in prison for seeking to report truths unpalatable to despotic governments and political movements.

Many thousands more were (are, and will be) tortured, assaulted, detained, threatened, harassed, censored, fined and suspended.

In many nations of the world, today is a public holiday to celebrate the labour movement. And it is also appropriate that this day has been chosen by the World Association of Newspapers to honour and express solidarity with these brave men and women.

It is also an apt opportunity to promote the mission and merits of a free press and to explain and emphasize how such a press can contribute to bringing peace and prosperity to our troubled world.

Please take a moment's pause this day to salute those who in the pursuit of truth have been deprived of their lives or liberty.

The directors and staff of the World Advertising and Research Center