UNSCOL Joins Commemoration of World Press Freedom Day
The UN, Lebanon’s Ministry of Information, the media as well civil society activities, academics and students marked on 3 May the World Press Freedom Day at a conference organized by UNESCO-Beirut. Focusing on the global theme of “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights,” the conference elaborated on press freedom as an underpinning of all other human rights. Speaking at the opening session, UN Special Coordinator Joanna Wronecka paid tribute to the critical work and sacrifices of journalists in Lebanon and around the world and underlined how the media in Lebanon needs a safe and conducive environment, reinforced by a modern and progressive media law and media ethics, to inform and empower society. She hoped the Lebanese Parliament would expedite the discussion and adoption of a recently proposed enhanced media law.
While recognizing the considerable space the media has in Lebanon to work freely, participants at the conference highlighted remaining constraints such as the summoning and prosecution of journalists, the lack of accountability for violations and crimes committed against journalists as well as the impact of Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis on journalists and media institutions. Lebanon ranked 119th out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index this year.