UNESCO, partners mark Press Freedom Day to Promote Information as a Public Good
The World Press Freedom Day 2021 was marked with a “Webinar: Promoting Information as a Public Good” on May 3, 2021, by UNESCO in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Sweden in Pakistan and the High Commission of Canada in Pakistan.
The webinar was attended by more than 50 participants from civil society, youth, media professionals, academia, international organizations, and diplomatic missions.
This year’s theme – “Information as a Public Good”, highlighted the significant role of media in bringing authentic information to the public and how this depends on a broader ecosystem, enabling information as a public good. Experts explored the crucial role of media in these changing times, highlighting the criticality that freedom, independence, and viability remain intact.
Patricia McPhillips, Country Representative and Director, UNESCO Islamabad, welcomed the participants and emphasized that, “Credible information helps us realize our fundamental rights and promotes accountability and transparency in societies and it is only through journalists working without fear and intimidation, that credibility and authenticity of information can be ensured.”
While moderating the webinar, Usama Khilji from Bolo Bhi highlighted the need to create an enabling environment for upcoming journalists to maintain the free flow of information. Myra Imran stressed journalism as a public good and its importance in today’s evolving media dynamics. Shehzad Ghias, a digital content producer, shared his experience while elaborating on the need to devise hybrid economic viability models.
During the webinar, Maria Nadir, a young media and information literacy trainer from Balochistan, explained the importance of media and information literacy to counter fake news and disinformation.
In his concluding remarks, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Mr. Thomas Seiler reiterated that journalists are the frontline workers of every democracy. They must be able to work freely. They help detect and counter disinformation. COVID-19 has shown us drastically how vital reliable and fact-checked information is for a functioning democratic state. On World Press Freedom Day, we reiterate our commitment to protecting those who use this fundamental freedom to keep us informed every day.
The World Press Freedom Day was commemorated under UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Program for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP). The MDP strengthens UNESCO’s work at global, regional, and national levels by channeling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression. A UNESCO press release.
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