As the world came together to observe World Press Freedom Day, the African Parliamentary Press Network (APPN) called for a more collaborative relationship between Parliament and the media to further entrench democracy on the continent.
The observance of World Press Freedom Day reminds governments and for that matter Parliaments, of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom, according to the United Nations.
“A fruitful collaboration between Parliament and the media, would be further enhanced when various Parliaments on the continent are urged to encourage their Parliamentary reporters to form Press Corps or Press Galleries as was recently demonstrated by the Gambian National Assembly,” said Olu Ibekwe, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the APPN, a Network of Parliamentary journalists in over 24 countries on the African continent.
The day which is celebrated every May 3, further serves as an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom around the world, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The theme for this year’s observation which is slated for May 3 to 6, “Journalism under digital siege” does not only highlight the ways in which journalism is endangered, but also the consequences of all this on public trust in digital communications.
The origin of World Press Day dates back to 1991, when an African Journalist present at a UNESCO conference in Windhoek, which was based on ‘Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Media’, opened up about an idea to encourage press freedom in different parts of the world.
UNESCO adopted the Windhoek declaration on May 3 in 1993, which aimed toward the ‘development of a free, independent and pluralistic press.