30th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day



Journalism students will be adding their stories to the local newspaper.

Every year, May 3 is World Press Freedom Day when the world celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the day in 1993 for a call for societies around the world to reevaluate press freedom, to stand up and protect media from attacks, and to pay tribute to the many journalists who have died in their line of duty of reporting the news.

Being a journalist is a difficult career.  This day is a reminder of the risks involved for the media every day.  Many people who work for various publications and newspapers often report being harassed, attacked, fined, censored, forced to close down, and even many are murdered as they report the news.

According to the U. S. Department of State website, “Imprisonment is not the only threat reporters face.  Journalists covering violent conflict and corruption are subjected to intimidation and abduction, often perpetrated with impunity.  Elsewhere, journalists face discrimination, censorship, and weaponized justice systems.  Governments around the world have used various tools of repression to force media outlets to close.”

“On World Press Freedom Day, we rededicate ourselves to protecting press freedom at home and promoting it across the globe,” the site said.

Journalists who have died on the job

Journalism has been around for longer than we could imagine from newspapers to media sites with information. There are many ways those who are looking for information on a certain subject in the area they are in or an area they are interested in can find. With the help of journalists and their tactics of finding out even the deepest information, society can learn a lot from how far they will go to learn about a topic. Many individuals in this field have dug too deep or asked questions that triggered the events that led to their deaths.

Danilo Lopez, a reporter for Prensa Libre, in Guatemala, died in March of 2015. He was walking in a park with some of his fellow journalists when he was caught off guard in a drive-by and was shot by two gunmen. It is believed that he was a targeted attack after receiving threats from writing about the corruption and misuse of public funds. The getaway driver was sentenced to 30 years in prison but has yet to have updates on the other who was responsible for his death. It is also believed that this was connected to a crime network with drug cartels.  

Shujaat Bukhari, a reporter from Rising Kashmir, India, died on June 14, 2018. Bukhari was leaving his office to attend a Iftar party, (a meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan), when he was targeted by several men and was shot. He suffered injuries from the head to abdomen and passed away. This was not the first time he had been targeted. He had just set up security guards to protect him, but unfortunately, they died with him.  Bukhari had survived three assassination attempts. It is believed that Bukhari was a target because of his outspoken advocacy for an end to conflict.

There are many journalists around the world who have died in the line of duty.  This day will always be for them and for protecting the upcoming journalists today. This year, 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of educating people from around the world about what journalists have to go through every day for their career. This celebration will always be a reminder that our world needs to defend our freedom of expression and speech.