Globally every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the basic principles of press freedom, to weigh up 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.
In 1993, World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly following a commendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
This in turn was a response to a call by African media who in 1991 produced the Landmark Windhoek Declaration (LWD) on media pluralism and independence.
It serves as an event 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 is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favor of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
Again, this day, 3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.
It also reminds media practitioners to reflect about issues of their press freedom and professional ethics in their day to day work.
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.
It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story aimed at bringing positive contributions.
In Uganda, especially northern Uganda districts of Lira and Amolatar, journalists paid tribute to men and women in prisons, hospital and others vulnerable by giving them donations in different categories.
“For me looking at this year’ s theme ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’, we should use the day to reflect on the media operationalization in our country and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. We should also use it to examine the contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online,” Denis Olaka, the Uganda Radio Network (URN) Bureau Chief for Lango Sub-Region emphasized.