UN: “Press Freedom Critical to Sustainable Global Development”

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The United Nations marked World Press Freedom Day, observed each year on May 3, by urging governments, societies and individuals to actively defend free media. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that freedom of expression, independent media and universal access to knowledge, are vital to achieving sustainable development for the people and the planet.

Freedom of both traditional and new media is indispensable for development, democracy and good governance. The UN has opened a briefing at its headquarters on “Media freedom for a better future: shaping the post-2015 development agenda.” The discussion will celebrate the fundamental principles of the freedom of press, and will spotlight the role of media in sustainable global development.

The briefing will also feed into the ongoing efforts of the UN to achieve a new development agenda for the success of the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The UN chief said in his remarks that fundamental freedom to disseminate ideas through any media is constantly under threat. Violence against journalists is completely unacceptable in a world that is increasingly dependent on global news outlets and journalists that serve them.

Mr. Ban said that free media can help promote transparency about UN’s post-2015 development agenda, including the new goals that Member States will adopt. Mobile technologies and social media present new tools to accelerate citizen participation and socio-economic progress. He emphasized on the watchdog function of the media, which can hold governments, businesses and others to account.

Echoing the sentiments of the UN chief, John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly, said that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental rights that form an important pillar of democratic societies. Free press is able to support informed citizen participation in social and political processes and promote civic engagement.

Source: UN.org

Image Credit: Flickr via Jim Bahn