World Association of News Publishers

Still Time To Commemorate World Press Freedom Day, 3 May

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Still Time To Commemorate World Press Freedom Day, 3 May


Thousands of newspapers world-wide will commemorate World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday, 3 May, by publishing thoughtful editorial and provocative advertising materials from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). There is still time to join them.

WAN-IFRA has made available essays, opinion pieces, interviews, infographics, editorial cartoons, photographs, advertisements and more for publication on or around 3 May, and has just added an editorial from The Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. The materials are available, free of charge, at

The package, which focuses on the theme, "Silence kills democracy, but a free press talks”,  is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and for the first time, Arabic.

The ongoing demonstrations for freedom in the Arab world is the subject of the new op-ed  piece contributed by The Elders, written by two members of the group: Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and a Nobel Laureate, and Lakhdar Brahimi, former Foreign Minister of Algeria and former UN Special Envoy.
"As we have seen repeatedly throughout the world, censorship and control of information serves the interest of the privileged few; the rule of law is negatively affected, human rights ignored and impunity and corruption unchecked," they write.
"In contrast, a free, diverse and responsible media promotes transparency and accountability, informs public debate and helps to ensure governments address the concerns and aspirations of all citizens. "
More about The Elders can be found at
World Press Freedom Day marks the anniversary of the 1991 Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of principles calling for a free, independent and pluralistic media throughout the world. The Declaration affirms that a free press is essential to the existence of democracy and a fundamental human goal.

It has become a day to raise awareness of press freedom problems worldwide, and to recognise the sacrifices that independent media and journalists make to keep their societies informed.

WAN-IFRA is encouraging newspapers everywhere to publish as much of the materials as possible. Download the  materials from

The package of materials also 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.

The advertisements depict Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi with their mouths taped shut and the question: “What if their words had never been heard?”

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 world’s 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 businesses.

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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