UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

05/04/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/04/2021 08:52

On World Press Freedom Day, Iraqi journalists discuss their concerns and demand support

UNESCO Iraq Office and the Communication and Media Commission (CMC), celebrated the WPFD through a blended event (online and physical presence), at the headquarters of the CMC in the capital, Baghdad.

Journalists from all Iraqi provinces joined the open debate on this day in conjunction with the central celebration being held in Namibia to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on Press Freedom.

This year's World Press Freedom Day theme 'Information as a Public Good' serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment.

The theme recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting our health, human rights, democracies and sustainable development.

In the opening speech, the head of the CMC, Mr. Adil Selman, stressed the need to respect press freedoms and support the Iraqi journalistic community due to the COVID pandemic in which many journalists lost their jobs.

The journalists who participated in the discussion highlighted the need to build capacity, enhance digital journalism skills, create media content and eradicate information literacy, for them to keep up with the current of professional development. They believe that the digital inclusion will help them engage in global digital transformation and thus breathe life into traditional journalism by turning it into a digital journalism.

To underline the importance of information within our online media environment, WPFD 2021 highlighted three key topics:

  • Steps to ensure the economic viability of news media;
  • Mechanisms for ensuring transparency of Internet companies;
  • Enhanced Media and Information Literacy (MIL) capacities that enable people to recognize and value, as well as defend and demand, journalism as a vital part of information as a public good.

May 3rd acts as a reminder to all government to respect their commitments in press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for journalists which are targets of restraint or abolition of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.