World Press Freedom Day 2016

May 3 is the World Press Freedom Day. The theme of this year is: Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!

What does press freedom and freedom of speech mean? John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was a pioneer in the field with his work “On Liberty” (1859). According to Mill, the state’s intervention on the formation of opinion is reprehensible, even if the people agree. The authorities are not infallible; they may inadvertently try to stifle true statements.

In Sweden, the Freedom of the Press Act guarantees freedom of speech in print publications, while the electronic media are governed by the constitution of Freedom of the Speech. It is estimated that more than one in three people on earth live in a country without freedom of the press.

The press freedom applies in particular to newspapers, magazines, brochures and books. The term is also used for the right to disseminate opinions and information via the Internet and the permission to speak in the press on political and other issues and criticize governments. (But of course there must be laws to protect military secrets, individual privacy etc..) Since the early 2000s it is mainly the Internet that has been subjected to regulation and censorship in the countries without press freedom.

Here are some examples: In China the population is monitored by more and more dictatorships who are using advanced technology. In Russia Putin is takes control of the media and distorts the content and in North Korea the “ordinary” people do not have access to the Internet. Other countries that have difficulties with the press freedom are for example: Tibet, Western Sahara, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

If you want to take note of what is happening internationally in journalism, we can recommend French Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), an international organization founded in France in 1985 to advocate press freedom worldwide.

The Press Freedom Day is funded in order to defend the media from attacks on their Independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In Gothenburg you could celebrate The Press Freedom Day through meeting Svetlana Alexievich at the Gothenburg City Theater.

What books do we have in the school library on journalism or journalists?

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This entry was posted in Book recommendations, Human rights, Press freedom and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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