When choosing their representatives, people should be guided by facts, not lies. This was announced on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated on May 3, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The theme of the Day this year is “Media for democracy: journalism and elections in an era of misinformation.”
“Throughout the world, opportunities for citizen participation in society are declining at an alarming rate. Negative media-targeting rhetoric is increasing, and journalists, including women, are increasingly being subjected to violence and harassment, ”said the Secretary General.
According to UNESCO, from 1994 to 2018, 1,307 journalists were killed in the world, 99 of them last year.
In addition to the international conference, held in Addis Ababa on May 2-3, the topic of journalism and elections in the era of misinformation is also discussed at various events around the world. One of them was held at the UN headquarters on the initiative of Russia.
In an era when there is a growing distrust of the press and journalistic activities and their legitimacy is questioned, it is extremely important to guarantee freedom of opinion and to ensure the free exchange of ideas and information.
During the discussion, the head of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, drew attention to the fact that controversy and confrontation deepened in the journalistic environment. “All this leads to such negative consequences as the loss of trust, the growth of aggressive rhetoric and a return to a world that is deeply divided,” she said.
Audrey Azula, in her statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, also noted that the public has less trust in journalists.
“In an era when mistrust of the press and journalistic activities is growing and their legitimacy is questioned, it is extremely important to guarantee freedom of opinion and to ensure the free exchange of ideas and information based on verified facts,” said the head of UNESCO.
“Without press freedom, it is impossible to create fair and impartial institutions, to hold leaders accountable and bring the truth to the authorities,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a video message on the occasion of the Day.
The main event on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, organized by the Department of Global Communications and UNESCO, will be held at UN Headquarters on Friday, May 3. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and President of the General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa will take part in it.