May 3rd- World Press Freedom Day


Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other Human Rights! 

2023 marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. Three decades have passed since it was proclaimed in 1993, in which we have seen substantial progress toward achieving a free press and freedom of expression worldwide. The proliferation of independent media in many countries and the rise of digital technologies have enabled the free flow of information. However, media freedom, the safety of journalists, and freedom of expression are increasingly under attack, which impacts the fulfillment of other human rights.

The international community faces multiple crises:

  • Conflicts and violence
  • Persistent socio-economic inequalities driving migration
  • Environmental crises
  • Challenges to the health and well-being of people worldwide

At the same time, online and offline disinformation proliferate, seriously impacting the institutions underpinning democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.

It is exactly to counter these critical situations and threats that press freedom, the safety of journalists, and access to information take center stage. The right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a prerequisite and a driver to the enjoyment of all other human rights. This year’s Special 30th-anniversary celebration of World Press Freedom Day is, therefore, a call to recentre press freedom, as well as independent, pluralistic, and diverse media, as key to the enjoyment of all other human rights.

Read the concept note.

Origins and Purpose of the Day

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, May 3, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, has been celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

After 30 years, the historical connection between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at its signing. Special 

commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during World Press Freedom Day International Conference.

May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

It is an opportunity to:

  • Celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • Assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • Defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • And pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.


UNESCO defends and promotes freedom of expression, media independence, and pluralism, and the building of inclusive knowledge societies underpinned by universal access to information and the innovative use of digital technologies. 

Through capacity-building, policy advice, international cooperation, monitoring, and foresight in the fields of freedom of expression, access to information, and digital transformation, UNESCO will continue to empower key actors with a view to ensuring that fundamental freedoms are guaranteed online and offline, in line with international standards. 

This is all the more relevant to ensure the ethical development and use of emerging technologies, which have a growing impact on all aspects of the world’s societies. Citizens will also be empowered to enjoy these fundamental freedoms through the development of 21st century skills and the fostering of enabling environments for media pluralism and diversity.