May 3rd each year is a date which ‘World Press Freedom Day’ is celebrated.
Its a time to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993.
This day acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
Back home, press freedom is very much alive and well.
In fact, freedom of the press or media freedom is provided for in the Constitution.
It’s a freedom every Solomon Islander is entitled to.
As media practitioners, we are glad the government continues to uphold and respect that freedom.
Compared to other parts of the world such as Middle East and Asia, freedom of the press in Solomon Islands is alive and thriving.
Despite threats and intimidation media workers occasionally get, there was still no report of a media worker being killed in the line of duty.
Lets hope it does not happen.
This day is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
This day acts 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, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
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 while leaving no one behind.
The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.
In this current pandemic the media also played an important role in the disseminating of important news to the mass.
To mark this event, Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) is hosting an open day today at the FOPA Panatina village, to showcase some of the work done by local media in the country.