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Celebration of World Press Day and our responsibility towards upholding freedom of expression

By: Javid Abdullah

Twitter: @the_news_21

Srinagar: Every year World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3rd as per the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declaration to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind the government of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

It is also a reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal declaration of human rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper Journalists in Windhoek in 1991.

Every year a theme is being set for the celebration of this day and this year the theme is “Shaping a future of rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”. This year UNESCO and New York are hosting the annual world press Freedom Day Global Conference from May 2-5, 2023. It will focus on the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, access to information and privacy, the safety of journalists etc.

This day is also a tribute to journalists who have lost their lives while covering the news for all of us. Their role and responsibility are indeed very tough and sensitive. We are watching all the news items while sitting inside our homes and are making different types of debates regarding the positive and negative sides of the story. Fact of the matter is that we need to realise the pain and sufferings of those journalists who are capturing the moments in their cameras by putting their lives in risk and danger.

The way they are contributing towards society is of immense importance and value. From local news to international news, they are having an eagle’s eye. The inspirational stories of different personalities from academics to sports are being shared with us through electronic and print media, the humanity related news items from the agony of the poorest of the poor to the deepest pains of the rich, from the corners of the village to the colonies of the cities, these are the heroes who are contributing their time, and their families time to make us aware and updated, to put us in deep thinking on the realistic and logical ends.

Society in general is surely hailing their efforts, and contribution. “As my personal opinion and which I have witnessed myself on many occasions, when you see a media person coming for coverage, people feel a sigh of relief.”  Their presence makes them happy and gives them a ray of hope. A change is being witnessed in the society which everyone is noticing now, that now a lay man is willing to put forth his views before the camera, though freedom of speech is our fundamental right, but a sort of threat and burden was to be witnessed on the faces of the common people while sharing their views and thoughts.

Making common people so bold and giving them a sense of encouragement and freeness if they will speak without any pressure. These are indeed the heroes of our society who are contributing their best for making the societies informative, updated and vision based.

They are the voices of the general public and the common people. Their respect is due, their care is our responsibility and encouragement is our moral duty. These heroes are the voices of the voiceless and they are the legacy holders of the Speak Up. 

About the Author: The writer is working as a teacher at Girls Model Higher Secondary School Handwara and can be reached at javeedwrites378@gmail.com


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