World Press Freedom Day 2018

2018 is the 25th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day.

UNESCO World Press Freedom Day is celebrated every year on 3 May.  The Day is an opportunity to:

  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world
  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence
  • inform citizens of violations of press freedom
  • pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty
  • support media and journalists that are targets for the restriction or abolition of press freedom

Goal 16 of the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development refers to the importance of peace, justice and strong institutions. Effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels are critical if this goal is to be delivered.  Press freedom is essential for this.

Keeping power in check

The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2018 is ‘Keeping power in check: media, justice and the rule of law’. The programme highlights the importance of ensuring a legal environment that protects news media and the valuable role of an independent judiciary in providing legal guarantees for press freedom. The programme addresses the important role the media plays in assuring transparency and accountability – especially during elections. 

Prize for imprisoned photojournalist

This year the Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan) has been awarded the 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize.  The prize honours a person or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence or promotion of press freedom.  Shawkan has been in jail since 2013. He was arrested while covering a demonstration in Cairo. In early 2017, the prosecutor in his case reportedly called for the death penalty. 


The website features some interesting resources to celebrate the 25th anniversary. 25 second for truth showcases journalists and press freedom advocates speaking about why press freedom is so important.

Additional information via UNESCO.