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Why World Press Freedom Needs to be Talked About

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“On World Press Freedom Day 2018, I call on governments to strengthen press freedom, and to protect journalists. Promoting a free press is standing up for our right to truth.”

– António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

press freedomWhen Guillermo Cano Isaza was assassinated in front of his workplace El Espectador in Bogota, Columbia, on 17 December 1986, it marked world history red with brutality against the media and journalists. United Nations recognised freedom of expression as a fundamental human right in Article 19 of the United Declaration of Human Rights and declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day in 1993. May 3 plays a significant role in reminding the government of the world to respect the freedom of journalists and media.

Ghana was nominated this year as the host city to celebrate the day with a focus on exploring the media and the judiciary’s role in ensuring implementation of protective laws and shedding light on crimes against journalists. This year’s theme is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’.

Egyptian photojournalist Mahmood Abu Zaid has been selected as the laureate of the 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize.

Crime against Journalism

For a fact more than 260 journalists around the world had been thrown in prisons by the end of the year 2017. Recently, 9 journalists were killed in Afghan suicide bomb blasts. Three journalists in India have already been killed within the first four months of 2018. Journalists keep getting attacked with defamation and sedition cases too.

The word brutal would be an understatement when describing the killing of journalists. Mowed down by vehicles, as in the case of two Dainik Bhaskar journalists on March 26, or shot dead in front of their house like Gauri Lankesh.

When a journalist dies, the world doesn’t observe the death of just another human, with it comes a blow to the very foundation of fundamental and human rights.

World Press Freedom Index Report 2018

Norway has topped the list for providing the most press freedom, followed by Sweden. North Korea tanks the list with the last position at 180. India has slipped the slipped two ranks from 136 to 138, coming just above Pakistan. As for India’s neighbouring countries Bhutan(90), Nepal(106), the Maldives(120), Sri Lanka(131), Bangladesh(146), and China(176), they didn’t do so well either.

Celebrate the Justice for J Dey

On May 2, 2018, MCOCA [Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act] court finally convicted Chotta Rajan and eight others for killing journalist Jotirmoy Dey. J Dey was a veteran crime reporter who was shot dead near his home. The case enveloped Asian Age Journalist Jigna Vora in the controversy as well. Jigna Vora was acquitted yesterday for being taken under false charges.

Thus, today not oldy do we stand for the freedom of press worldwide, but we also celebrate the justice delivered to a journalist who gave 56 years of his life to the Indian press.