Ghana was officially handed over the organization of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) at a ceremony that took place today in Paris within the framework of the UNESCO General Conference, the biennial meeting of UNESCO’s highest governing body.
Receiving a symbolic Garuda bird statue on behalf of last year’s host, Indonesia, Kojo Opong Nkrumah, Deputy Minister of Information of the Republic of Ghana, emphasized the importance of free media’s contribution to society, and the need to ensure that journalists can exercise their work safely, free of threats. “So much more can be achieved in governance, in an economy and in quality of life when the people and the media are free. And using the Ghanaian success story, we look forward to showcasing this when you join us for this celebration”.
Hotmangaradja Pandjaitan, Permanent Delegate of Indonesia to France, recalled the success of WPFD 2017, which brought together 1500 participants from over 90 countries and led to the Jakarta Declaration, which spells out the media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies. “We stand ready to share our experience with Ghana in order to prepare this momentous event”, he added.
Aki Enkenberg, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, referred to his own country’s contribution to the Day in 2016, when Finland was the host country: “In Helsinki, we brought onboard our long history in securing public access to information, a research conference on safety on journalists and links to artistic and scientific freedom. We are pleased to see the event return to Africa, in Ghana, 27 years after the Windhoek Declaration.”
The global celebration in Accra will feature vibrant debate, discussion, understanding and awareness about current freedom of expression challenges and achievements in Africa and worldwide.
This year’s theme for the event, ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law’, will explore the interplay between a free press, the judiciary and the rule of law, within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The awarding ceremony of the 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, one of the most prestigious international awards in this area, will take place on 3 May.
The event will mark the 25th anniversary of the Day, whose origins lie in the Windhoek Declaration on promoting free, independent and pluralistic media, adopted in Namibia in 1991 and later endorsed by UNESCO’s General Conference.