The United States of America are to host the 2011 World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd. The celebration, which happens on the same day every year, commemorates 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. The date was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the UN General Assembly in 1993.
It serves 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. It serves 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. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom.
In 2011, the focus of the celebration is on the potential of the Internet and digital platforms as well as the more established forms of journalism in contributing to freedom of expression, democratic governance, and sustainable development. Twenty years after the call for the establishment of World Press Freedom Day, the arrival of the digital revolution—the evolution of the Internet, the emergence of new forms of media, and the rise of online social networks—has reshaped the media landscape and made the press of 2011. New media platforms have made it possible for almost any citizen to communicate to a large audience; for example, bloggers around the world are challenging authorities, exposing corruption, and expressing their opinions via the Internet. These new frontiers of media have enriched news and information resources and reshaped what has been traditionally the realm of print press, broadcasters, and news agencies.
The celebration of World Press Freedom day raises questions about the different forms of media that face ethical problems in reporting and the news forms of media that are coming about.