India cuts a Sorry Figure on World Press Freedom Day

Attacks on media persons continue with impunity across the country

Press Freedom

Today is the 25th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993 on the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. It is therefore a solemn day for Indian journalists given how the Press Freedom is being curtailed in the country, by both, state and non state actors. Here’s a look at the struggle to establish and honour Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression across the world as well as how India is still struggling on this vital front.


The Windhoek Declaration

Since then, May 3, which is the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, has been commemorated as World Press Freedom Day. The Windhoek Declaration was compiled by African journalists in 1991. It was introduced at a UNESCO seminar for ‘Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press’ that was held in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia from April 29 to May 3, 1991. 

The Windhoek Declaration prompted similar moves, DW Akademie reported: in 1992, a UNESCO media conference in Kazakhstan adopted the Declaration of Alma Atma, which proclaimed complete support for the Windhoek Declaration. A similar move came with 1994’s Declaration of Santiago, and in 1996, the Declaration of Sana’a highlighted the priority of creating completely independent journalists’ associations, trade unions or syndicates, as well as publishers’ and editors’ associations. In 1997, too, the Declaration of Sofia called on “all parties concerned that the principles enshrined in this (Windhoek) Declaration be applied in practice.”

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