World Press Freedom Day

3 May is World Press Freedom Day

The World Press Photo Foundation connects the world to the stories that matter. We believe people should have access to the widest range of high-quality and diverse visual stories so they can better understand themselves, better understand the world, and better act in the world. Supporting freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of the press, is a fundamental part of this work.

Why is press freedom important?

Making, publishing, and seeing visual stories depends upon a series of freedoms - freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of the press. There are many places in the world where these freedoms do not exist. Even in countries regarded as open, press freedom is often under threat and cannot be taken for granted. Threats to press freedom include the harassment of journalists through physical intimidation, the mistrust and delegitimization of journalism, and the publication of disinformation and misinformation designed to overwhelm accurate reporting.

UNESCO World Press Freedom Day

The main celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2019 is taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1 to 3 May 2019. The event will provide a platform for multiple actors to exchange on current issues, threats and achievements concerning freedom of the press. As part of our commitment to press freedom, the World Press Photo Foundation is an official partner of this event. We have travelled to Addis Ababa with a digital showcase of the winners from the 2019 World Press Photo Contest.

Image: The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi by Chris McGrath

2019 World Press Freedom Index

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have published their 2019 World Press Freedom Index. This report “shows how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.”

The World Press Photo Exhibition travels to many countries reported to have ‘difficult’ to ‘very serious’ press freedom situations by the World Press Freedom 2019 Index. The presence of the exhibition is a contribution to challenging restrictions of press freedom in those places. For example, in 2018 the exhibition went to Algeria, Cambodia, Iran and Vietnam. In 2019 the exhibition will be shown in Belarus, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Singapore, and Venezuela.

We are committed to supporting the public’s right to access diverse accounts of the world through practical initiatives, including with the African Journalism Database (APJD), a directory of more than 500 emerging and professional African visual storytellers created in partnership with Everyday Africa. This program works to better connect African photographers to the international media economy. Our 6x6 Global Talent Program also works to connect the world to diverse stories. Spotlighting six visual storytellers from six global regions in a rolling process of nomination and selection, the program highlights talent from around the world. The World Press Photo Foundation’s best known educational program, the Joop Swart Masterclass takes place every year, supporting emerging and early-career image makers in the field of documentary photography, visual journalism, and visual storytelling.