World Press Freedom Day 2020

Journalism without fear or favor

3 May marks World Press Freedom Day. A day to celebrate 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 World Press Photo Foundation connects the world to the stories that matter. Now more than ever, supporting the conditions for freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of the press is a fundamental part of our work.

UNESCO World Press Freedom Day

The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Journalism without Fear of Favor’.

As part of our commitment to press freedom, the World Press Photo Foundation is an official partner of the World Press Freedom Conference 2020, taking place from 18-20 October in The Hague, the Netherlands. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has been rescheduled and it will now be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November).

In collaboration with UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, World Press Photo has curated a special exhibition showcasing protest images from the World Press Photo Contests archive. The exhibition includes historical images such as Douglas Martin’s photograph of Dorothy Counts, a symbol of resistance against racism; Charlie Cole’s picture of Tiananmen Square, representing the power of people; and the Yasuyoshi Chiba’s Straight Voice, awarded World Press Photo of the Year in the 2020 Photo Contest, capturing the hope and resilience of protesters in Sudan.

The exhibition will open at the World Press Photo House in Amsterdam’s Westergas in October and will travel to The Hague coinciding with the World Press Freedom Conference 2020. The first Special Edition, PEOPLE POWER, documenting protests since 1957, will be shown at an outdoor location in The Hague. The second Special Edition, PEOPLE POWER, documenting protests from 2015-2020, will be on display at the World Forum during the World Press Freedom Conference 2020.

Why is press freedom more important now than ever?

This is a challenging and difficult time for the global community. The 2020 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), shows that “the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely reported, independent, diverse and reliable information.”

This 2020 edition identified five converging crises threatening the future of journalism: “a geopolitical crisis (due to the aggressiveness of authoritarian regimes); a technological crisis (due to a lack of democratic guarantees); a democratic crisis (due to polarisation and repressive policies); a crisis of trust (due to suspicion and even hatred of the media); and an economic crisis (impoverishing quality journalism).”

Today more than ever we need journalism we can trust.

Be part of #WorldPressFreedomDay2020

Help spread the message of #WorldPressFreedomDay2020 by sharing campaign materials and joining the online events reflecting on press freedom:

  • Follow the major online events organized by UNESCO and partners to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. Learn more.
  • Download media resources here.

  • #ThankAJournalist. Use this hashtag to honour journalists for their important work in bringing us reliable information, and countering disinformation.

Connecting the world to the stories that matter

We will continue supporting the conditions that make visual journalism possible, refocusing our efforts to do what we can to support the community during this global crisis. We’ve pulled together guidance, resources, funding and grants to help visual journalists affected by or covering the COVID-19 crisis here.

Our contests reward the best in visual journalism and digital storytelling. The results of the 2020 Photo Contests have been announced online and are available here. Although some dates of our worldwide exhibition tour have been postponed, we will continue sharing the work of visual journalists to a global audience, showcasing stories that make people stop, feel, think and act. Through our Develop programs, we’ll keep encouraging diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives.

We believe in the power of showing and the importance of seeing high-quality visual stories, and we’ll keep on working hard to fulfil our mission: connecting the world to the stories that matter.

Image credits:
Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse
Douglas Martin, USA, The Charlotte News / The Associated Press