The roundtable discussion dedicated to the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) -took place in Dushanbe with the participation of the journalists, mass media experts and representatives, public organizations, state institutions as well as the UN Resident Coordinator and UN agencies.
The event was aimed at commemorating the global Press Freedom Day marked globally on 03 May and discussing issues around the media viability in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also explored joint actions among participants to ensure access to verified, factual, and credible information as a public good to all COVID-19 recovery efforts to build back better and more resilient societies around the globe.
In his opening statement Mr. Saimurod Fattohzoda Parliament Member, Chairperson of the Information, International Relations and Public Organizations Department of the Parliament noted the importance of cooperation with mass media and reaffirmed commitment for further enhancement of the situation with access to quality and timely information for the public good.
Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator noted in her opening remarks: “In the 21st century – in an era of information and digitalization, full and safe access to mass media and social networks is vital for collective knowledge and creation of shared prosperity. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how access to reliable information is important to save lives. Let us work together to ensure mass media have enough capacity to access and share verified content so that everyone is able to enjoy their right to access information”.
Several thematic presentations were provided during the meeting around this year’s topic, such as human rights mechanisms and access to information; access to the official information and sharing verified content and media preparedness to operate in times of COVID19. Participants concluded that the shift to online media and the wide expansion of social media should not create barriers to the right to access information. Efforts should be made to further the population’s media and information literacy as one of the key competencies in the modern world so as to enable them to detect fake or erroneous news, use credible information and make safe and informed decisions.
Note: The World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following negotiations at a UNESCO conference in Windhoek, Namibia in 1991. It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of their right to freedom of expression and difficulties associated with the exercise of this right around the world. In 2021, marking the 30 years since the Windhoek Conference, the World Press Freedom Day focuses on contemporary issues for freedom of expression, access to information, and the public service role of journalism within the changed communications ecosystem.