Global conference on press freedom postponed due to COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, in close consultation with UNESCO, has decided to postpone the World Press Freedom Conference 2020. The organizers’ main concern isto guarantee the health of everyone involved and ensure a high level of attendance from stakeholders around the world.
UNESCO and The Netherlands had planned to hold the World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC) from 22 to 24 April at the World Forum in The Hague. The conference is now scheduled for 18 to 20 October at the same venue. It will be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November).

The decision to postpone the conference has been taken to minimize costs and risks for all involved, in the wake of yesterday’s decision by the World Health Organization to declare COVID-19 a global pandemic.

The planning of the conference was well underway, with more than 1,000 registered participants and 60 confirmed sessions scheduled to take place over the course of three days. The programme included the first-ever international forum of legal actors, an academic conference on the safety of journalists, a press freedom festival targeting youth, and the award ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, among many other sessions. The most important networks of media stakeholders had already confirmed their attendance. The conference organizers invite all partners to continue their engagement with this event and will work towards ensuring the same programme with an even greater level of participation in October.

UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
The Laureate of the 2020 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be announced on 3 May. The award ceremony will take place at the Conference in The Hague in October.

World Press Freedom Day
National and local celebrations of World Press Freedom Day will take place around the world on 3 May. Some of the events will take the form of online debates and workshops. UNESCO will be launching a global campaign on media and social media for World Press Freedom Day (3 May).

About the World Press Freedom Conference
Organized annually since 1993, the WPFD Global Conference provides an opportunity to journalists, civil society representatives, national authorities, academics and the broader public to discuss emerging challenges to press freedom and journalists’ safety and work together on identifying solutions.

The Netherlands is the host for 2020. The conference lasts three days and will attract 1,500-2,000 visitors from all over the world.