World Association of News Publishers

“What if their words had never been heard?”

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“What if their words had never been heard?”


The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) today launches a series of striking adverts for newspapers and news websites to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

This year’s campaign, entitled “Silence kills democracy, but a free press talks”, explores the link between a free press and freedom of expression, one of the essential ingredients in any democratic system.  

Thousands of newspapers publish WAN-IFRA materials on or around 3 May each year to remind readers of the central role a free press plays in safeguarding the public interest. The essential message behind this year's adverts is, without an independent press, would Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi been able to change their societies? The ads show them with their mouths taped shut and the question: “What if their words had never been heard?”

The adverts are free to download and publish and are available in print-ready high-resolution format from , along with a host of extra material including exclusive editorials, stunning photographs from AFP and Getty Images, satirical cartoons by French artist Michel Cambon, infographics and materials to engage young readers.

Newspapers world-wide are encouraged to view and download all or part of the materials, which are being offered in English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Russian but can be translated into other languages as well.

The package of materials includes op-ed pieces and essays by Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize; Google Vice President David Drummond; renowned Tunisian writer Taoufik Ben Brik; Rocio Gallegos, a reporter with El Diario de Juarez, a newspaper on the front lines in the battle with drug cartels; head of the World Bank Institute’s media development, Eric Chinje; Pakistan publisher and Golden Pen of Freedom laureate Najam Sethi; Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube, and an editorial from the World Editors Forum.

Newspapers are also being encouraged to take up the “white space” challenge by printing white space on their front pages, to symbolise what would be missing without a free press.

WAN-IFRA's World Press Freedom Day initiative benefits from contributions by Agence France-Presse, Getty Images, the World Editors Forum and the Russian Guild of Press Publishers (GIPP).

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world¹s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous

Learn more about WAN-IFRA at or through the WAN-IFRA Magazine at

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:

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