As journalists around the world use social media to report breaking news and grapple with government-imposed Internet restrictions, World Press Freedom Day aims to highlight the challenges and opportunities new technology brings.
Organized by UNESCO, World Press Freedom Day 2011 will be held in Washington, D.C. this year from May 1-3. The theme, "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers," is especially timely.
“Social media provide new platforms that allow individuals to exercise their right of freedom of expression by declaring, broadcasting, and amplifying their own opinions,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela in a statement. “Individuals and organizations alike have used social media tools to benefit civil society by adding transparency to elections, allowing citizen journalists to report on otherwise under-covered stories, and overcoming repressive media environments, such as in Venezuela and Cuba."
The agenda is an ambitious one, broken into four major areas: new frontiers of news media, a legal and regulatory perspective, new barriers and new trends of journalism.
Speakers at the various events include: Oscar Morales Guevara, Creator, Facebook group, “One Million Voices against FARC,” Dr. Rasha Abdulla, Associate Professor, American University in Cairo, Maria Sadovskaya, European Radio for Belarus, Nazila Fathi, Correspondent, The New York Times; Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Editor, Prachatai, Thailand.
Partner events will also be held in UNESCO offices around the world in Almaty, Kazakhstan; South America (Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile); Windhoek, Namibia; the Sub-Mekong region and Amman, Jordan.
In keeping with the theme, a wealth of information about World Press Freedom Day will be available online. IJNet will offer complete coverage of the event. You can also check out the WPFD blog, follow WPFD on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.