Nearly 20 years ago the United Nations General Assembly enacted World Press Freedom Day. Now, every year on May 3, humanity is asked to review the condition of media freedom throughout the world, honor journalists who have perished while performing their duties and recognize journalism’s critical role in society.
Hanging on display in Washington DC’s Newseum, you can see a 36-foot by 26-foot color-coded map. This map displays a view of the world according to freedom of the press. The red indicates nations without any free press. Countries colored yellow indicate partial press freedom, and it takes only a quick glance to notice there is little green, representing the nations that enjoy a free press.
This week, with this map as a backdrop, various speakers came to the Newseum to honor journalists, who risk their lives while working throughout the world. According to Reporters Without Borders, already in 2012 a startling 21 journalists have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Every day, but particularly World Press Freedom Day, is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the media and to thank journalists whose commitment gives them the courage to keep going.