World Press Freedom Day attendance breaks records

byDana Liebelson
May 4, 2011 in Journalism Basics

Attendance for the World Press Freedom Day conference in Washington this week was the largest in the event's almost 20-year history, with more than 800 participants.

Sponsored by a variety of organizations, the World Press Freedom Day global conference concluded yesterday with a closing ceremony honoring jailed Iranian journalist, Ahmad Zeidabadi. New media innovators, policymakers and press freedom advocates from around the world attended the conference events.

“Even as we celebrate innovations that make information easier to share, we are reminded that in many places around the world, journalists are still targeted for harassment and abuse,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a statement.

This was the first year that World Press Freedom Day events have been held in the United States. Two press freedom organizations released reports during the events: Freedom House unveiled its 2011 Freedom of the Press Map and the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report on new tools governments are using for censorship.

The theme of this year’s conference was new media in the 21st century. To honor this theme, participants at the event took part in an online conversation on press freedom. Tweets were marked with the hashtags, #WPFD and #PressFreedom and participants were encouraged to share the event on other social media platforms.

The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organizes World Press Freedom Day commemorations to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom; to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. For complete information on the 2011 World Press Freedom Day global conference in Washington DC, see www.wpfd2011.org (in English)