Ghana to host 2018 World Press Freedom Day

Mustafa Hamid, minister of information in a meeting with UN officals in Accra

Ghana has agreed to host the global celebration of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, following a request by the United Nations.
Ghana has agreed to host the global celebration of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, following a request by the United Nations.

It will be the first global celebration of the event to be held in Africa and will be organised by UNESCO, in collaboration with the government of Ghana.

It is scheduled for Accra from May 5 to 7, 2018 and more than 500 participants are expected to take part, out of which 200 will be from the international community.

Discussions to have Ghana host the event were finalised in Accra on Thursday at a meeting between the Minister of Information, Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, and a delegation from UNESCO, led by the Head and Representative of the UNESCO Office in Accra, Mr Tirso A.S. dos Santos.

Recognition

In his remarks at the meeting, Mr dos Santos said Ghana was chosen in recognition of its record on freedom of expression and for the consistency with which the day had been marked locally over the years.

“Ghana is a good example of press freedom and freedom of expression to not only African countries but also many countries globally and this informed the decision to have the country host the 2018 global edition,” he explained.

He said hosting the event in Ghana would serve as an opportunity for UNESCO to project the country’s exemplary records and success stories with regard to press freedom and freedom of expression.

He expressed the belief that the 200 international participants the country would host would impact Ghana’s economy positively, particularly in the services sector, and offer the local media an opportunity to interact and network with colleagues from around the globe.

Mr Santos expressed gratitude to the government for agreeing to host the event.

Government’s commitment

For his part, Mr Abdul-Hamid said Ghana accepted to host the event because the government believed in press freedom and had played a significant role in ensuring press freedom.

“Hosting a global celebration of the day will affirm the government’s belief and commitment to improve press freedom in Ghana,” he said.

He said Ghana was not expected to make any major financial contribution to the celebration but it would host the international participants attending the event to a dinner after the three-day event.

The minister said the celebration would serve as an opportunity for Ghana to promote its tourist attractions and culture, as well as energise its services sector, as hotels would play host to visitors from overseas, among other benefits.

World Press Freedom Day

The World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following a recommendation adopted by the 26th session of the UNESCO General Conference in 1991.

The day is celebrated annually on May 3 with a global event and various national events to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press, as well as remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression as enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The day also marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

It is also a day to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

Source: graphic.com.gh

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