World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2005 marked World Press Freedom Day. According to UNESCO, this day is a date:

…which celebrates 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.

Journalists from around the world marked the occassion. From Thailand to Nepal, and Uganda to the Philippines, all have reaffirmed the need for fair reporting, journalistic integrity, and safety in the field. This fear for fair safety has not been unfounded. According to Reporters Without Borders, 53 journalists were killed last year while working. That is the highest number since 1995. Also, the 56 journalists lost in the War in Iraq over two years is the largest loss for reporters since the Vietnam War.

An article by OneWorld US showed that a separate organization, the Committee to Protect Journalists, listed the Philippines, Iraq, Colombia, Bangladesh, and Russia as the most dangerous countries for journalists.

The organization said that the vast majority of journalists killed on the job since 2000 did not die in crossfire but that 121 of the 190 journalists slain worldwide were ”hunted down and murdered in retaliation for their work.”

This is sobering news to the many students who enter fields such as journalism, photojournalism, and television news with the hopes of covering wars, informing the public, and changing the world.

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