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By Emmy McKirgan

#WorldPressFreedomDay is a day to protect the freedom of the press!

How Do We Accomplish This Enormous Task?

It’s two-pronged. Firstly, it reminds governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. Secondly, it is also a day of reflection among media professionals about press freedom and professional ethics issues.

Another layer to the importance of this day is to support media that targets the constraint, or elimination, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives to pursue a story—those who have forged lands unknown to them, to get the truth to you and me.

We need to ensure that the “news” is reported ethically and non-judgmentally.

Why a UNESCO mandate?

At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.
It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down. At the same time, journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.” Link

What does it mean?

Regardless of which side of the press we are on, ethical and impartial values need to guide us. Suppose we are part of the media or social media; in that case, we need to do our due diligence to obtain accurate and impartial information on the stories we write.

If we are the readers – we need to be more conscious of the possibility that we are only getting half-truths. We need to examine a story in its fullness – often, that means looking at it from different perspectives and opinions. Googling various sites or news reports we often would gravitate towards.

Let us all do our part to continue to be without prejudice and be detectives in the stories we hear or read about – this will bring about a more congenial environment.

What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas presented above?

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