Bulgaria Marks Press Freedom Day amidst Slumping Rankings

Society | May 3, 2012, Thursday // 11:39|  views

Bulgaria is placed 78th among 196 countries in Freedom House's 2011 global press freedom ranking. File photo

Bulgaria and Bulgarian journalists mark soberly Thursday the UN World Press Freedom Day.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 3 May to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

UNESCO also marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.

Created in 1997, the prize is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals. Names are submitted by regional and international non-governmental organizations working for press freedom, and by UNESCO member states.

The Prize is named in honor of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogot?, on 17 December 1986. Cano's writings had offended Colombia's powerful drug barons.

UNESCO also marks World Press Freedom Day each year by bringing together media professionals, press freedom organizations and UN agencies to assess the state of press freedom worldwide and discuss solutions for addressing challenges. Each conference is centered around a theme related to press freedom, including good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity and the role of media in post-conflict countries.

The celebration in Bulgaria has been marred by Freedom House's 2011 global press freedom ranking, released one day earlier, where the country is placed 78th among 196.

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Tags: journalists, World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO/ Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, press freedom, media freedom, media, freedom house, ranking


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