About the event
World Press Freedom Day aims 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.
It also serves as a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered. This is a problem all over the world including the UK. Julian Assange, the famous journalist and whistleblower, continues to be denied the right to fair trial and suffers from constant surveillance by the British and US intelligence services.
How to approach it
Talk through with you students about the importance of journalists. Encourage discussion as to what the job of journalists is and what uses they have for society. Allow students to think critically about what good journalism and what bad journalism might look like. Examples of good journalism might include important whistleblowers, or accurate news that is informative about events around the world. Examples of bad journalism may include lying, overt political propaganda or lobbying. Ask students, why is it important that people should be able to ‘speak truth to power’? What is dangerous about client journalism and fake news? How can we strike a balance between protecting journalists and preventing misinformation?
Reading the news through newspapers, apps or on the TV is a really useful way to stay informed about what’s going on nationally and internationally. The news helps us form our opinions about what is right and wrong, who we should vote for and what causes we should support. It’s important that journalists, the people who write the news, are able to speak freely and tell people the truth about what’s happening. Sometimes governments or powerful people don’t like this, because it means they can be easily criticised. If you could write a news story, what would it be about? What kind of news story would make the world a better place?