IPJ Marks World Press Freedom Day in Dakar

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IPJ Director Magda Abu-Fadil speaks on Arab media and good governance at UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

Hashhuu Naranjargal, President of Globe International in Mongolia, Abu-Fadil and Olena Prytula, editor-in-chief of Ukrayinska Pravda in Ukraine.

UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura, Senegalese Information Minister Becar Dia, UNESCO Assistant Director General Abdul Waheed Khan at closing ceremony.

The Institute for Professional Journalists marked World Press Freedom Day 2005 by participating in UNESCO’s “Media & Good Governance” conference in Dakar, Senegal.

IPJ Director Magda Abu-Fadil spoke at the conference’s opening on recent developments in the Middle East and whether the Arab region’s print, broadcast and online media organizations were adequately equipped to handle good governance. A summary of the presntation is available in chapter 7 of the book "Media and Good Governance." (PDF)

The event grouped international experts who promoted and developed initiatives favoring press freedom and assessed the state of the world’s media environment.

May 3 every year celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom. Advocates evaluate press freedom around the world, rally behind those targeted for their bravery and pay tribute to journalists who have died in the exercise of their profession.

The event serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations and as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. IPJ and other media-related organizations took part in the UNESCO celebrations May 1–3, 2005.

Independent, free and pluralistic media have a crucial role to play in the good governance of democratic societies, by ensuring transparency and accountability, promoting participation and the rule of law, and contributing to the fight against poverty, according to UNESCO and press freedom adherents.

The conference ended with the adoption by 150 participants representing the world’s major media and freedom of expression organizations of a Declaration urging respect for press freedom, access to information, and a repeal of criminal defamation laws.

The Declaration emphasized the need for national authorities to create an environment favorable to free and independent media.

In closing, UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura, declared: “Every time the right to inform is undermined, human rights as a whole are being undermined.”

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade attended the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize ceremony 2005 on May 3 honoring Chinese Journalist Cheng Yizhong who was barred by his country’s authorities from attending the event.

Larry Kilman, Director of Communications of the World Association of Newspapers, accepted the Prize on behalf of the 2005 laureate.

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