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Celebrating 2013 World Press Freedom Day: Safe to Speak

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3 May 2013 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013.

As Tonga mark World Press Freedom Day today, 3 May, representatives from the Tonga Media Council, Tonga Broadcasting Commission and Government work together to bring awareness on TV and radio about the meaning and significance of this year's Press Freedom Day.

The UNESCO theme for 2013 is a commitment to foster the "free exchange of ideas and knowledge" and the "free flow of ideas by word and image", with the theme, Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media". In view of the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO Bangkok has launched the international social media campaign Think. Speak. Tweet. Like. Share. FREELY to tell the world that we should be "Free to Facebook", "Safe to Tweet", "Free to YouTube", "Free to blog", "Free to upload pics", "Free to watch online video" or "Safe to use social media".  While the popularity of using social media networks is on the rise, its impact and influence has been phenomenal in the dissemination of news and information in this modern age of press freedom.

Media Freedom in Tonga
WPFD is a day that reminds government of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom, whilst for media professionals it is a day of reflection about issues of press freedom and the need to consistently maintain professional ethics.

While Tonga have enjoyed the freedom to express and of the press for more than 130 years since the 1875 , other countries worldwide, do not share this liberty, which results in journalists, editors and publishers being harassed, attacked, even detained. This Press Freedom Day also remembers those media professionals.  According to the UNESCO, more than 600 journalists, media workers and social producers have been killed in the last ten years.

The United Nations and international Agencies agreed that a free and responsible press is an absolute prerequisite for a properly functioning democracy; however, a responsible and professional journalism requires knowing where to draw boundaries for abusing this freedom.

In addition to the fundamental rights to expression, the Government has continued to recognize the Press Freedom with the right to access information held by public bodies, a policy of Freedom of Information launched in 2012, which is an integral part of the freedom of expression.

There are over 20 media organizations  operating in Tonga, from radio and TV broadcasting to newspaper and online news agency.

About Media Freedom Day
Media Freedom Day was first officially proclaimed during the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Ever since, UNESCO as the UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press, has been promoting these fundamental rights in every region of the world. The UNESCO Constitution states a commitment to foster the "free exchange of ideas and knowledge" and the "free flow of ideas by word and image". To advance these lofty goals, the WPFD has been commemorated worldwide by many stakeholders each year on 3 May, and has emerged as an effective way to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and press freedom.

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2013. For more information, contact Lucy Moala-Mafi, Secretariat, Tonga National Commission for UNESCO

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:49 )  

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