By May 10, 2017 Read More →

World Press Freedom Day 2017

“Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just, and inclusive societies”  Thursday, May 4

In these current times, and especially in New York City, World Press Freedom Day (WPF Day) meant a lot to journalists and the world of media. Major issues and challenges that they face, such as rape, violence, and danger in areas of terrorism/conflict, while executing their jobs were discussed with the hope that their voice is heard and solutions are met.

It was noted that even though reporters and journalists may have the tendency to allow their feelings to impact the news, the majority try their best to give the news as it is. However, viewers and readers need to understand that there is a distinction between the editorial section, the news section, and the opinion section.

The spread of ‘fake news’ was also addressed and the audience was advised that they should be aware of the source of information that is coming to them. There is what is known as ‘main stream media’ and ‘social media’ and the public should act responsibly and not let social media set the standard of their intelligence. It was observed that social media has bigger traffic than homepage google!

Another main concern is about getting readers and viewers to re-build trust in the media. Mr. Jay Rosen offered a few suggestions. He cited that journalists need to learn how to respond to criticism with honesty and integrity, and with facts. He also said that it is equally important to say what they know and what they don’t know, along with asking the audience for what they missed or what they got wrong, for journalists are humans, too, liable to making mistakes. He emphasized that it makes a difference if they invite the audience to help them investigate, letting them know you are willing to work together.

Yes, the media can be obnoxious, cynical, or even manipulative. However, the power of un-biased media can hold authorities accountable. In conclusion, journalists were encouraged to practice ‘responsible journalism’ with courage, confidence, and pride.

The discussion was co-organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

WPF Day UN photo (Rick Bajornas)

UN photo (Rick Bajornas)

Ramu Damodaran, Acting Director of DPI’s Outreach Division (pictured in the center of panel), moderated the panel discussion during the event: pictured (from left): Yoshita Singh, Senior UN and New York Correspondent, Press Trust of India; Sarah L. Ryley, Instigative and Data Journalist, The Trace; David Scharia, Chief of Branch, UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; Emma Daly, Director of Communications, Human Rights Watch; Bob Garfield, Co-host of New York public radio programme, “On the Media”; Jay Rosen, Associate Professor, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University (NYU).

“The media is not something outside of us. We are the media” Media is such a powerful tool, if used to educate humans, they will be empowered and the best in them will surface.

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