UNESCO convenes Asia Pacific consultation leading up to World Press Freedom Day

Forty-five organizations from 18 countries participated in the Asia Pacific regional consultation in the lead up to the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) organized by UNESCO on 25 March 2021.

Participants representing journalists, media organizations, civil society, academia, national authorities and UN Agencies from across the region provided insightful comments and suggestions to be considered in the upcoming WPFD on 3 May.

The global theme for WPFD in 2021 is “Information as a Public Good”. It highlights the importance of information in all our lives and the challenges to ensure that reliable, verifiable, and vital information will always be available to serve the public’s best interest.

The rapid changes in digital communications have transformed news media and information. WPFD aims to draw attention to the special role of journalism in producing news as verified information in the public interest, and to how this depends on a wider ecosystem. In particular, three key conditions have been identified that need to be put in place to ensure such an ecosystem where journalism can flourish: media viability, transparency of online platforms, and media and information literacy.

During the lively two-hour discussion, various ideas were suggested such as engaging and training social media “influencers” on media and information literacy and ensuring that tech giants are transparent about their policies including to have them available in the local languages where their services are being used regardless of market size.

The feedback from this regional consultation will be incorporated into the regional forum and global WPFD conference to ensure national and regional concerns are well reflected in the global discussions.

This consultation was organized by the regional and national UNESCO Offices in Jakarta, Bangkok, New Delhi, and Beijing. Similar consultations are taking place in different regions around the world. The Asia Pacific Regional Forum for WPFD will take place on 30 April 2021 as part of the Global WPFD Conference that will take place from 29 April to 3 May 2021. For more information, including the concept note, tentative programme and registration for these events, please visit the dedicated website.

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