World Press Freedom Day 2012 – Asia and the Pacific

World Press Freedom Daycame about twenty years ago in response to a vision of a group of journalists that gathered together at Windhoek, in Namibia. The Windhoek Declaration was a call to arms to protect the fundamental principles of the freedom of expression that is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On May 3 each year, World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to celebrate the press and to honour journalists who have demonstrated courage in standing up for media ethics and free expression around the world. 


The theme for WPFD 2012 is ‘New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies’.

Throughout the region, IFJ affiliates are undertaking a number of activities during the week of May 3.


Australia: The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and its professional development arm, the Walkley Foundation, will host the 2012 Press Freedom Media Dinner in Sydney on Friday, May 4. The dinner is the media industry’s major fundraising event and recognises that free speech and a free and unfettered press that serves the public good, are the most important guarantors of democracy. Each year, media and business unite to recognise the importance of press freedom and support the many journalists and media workers under pressure in the Asia-Pacific region. In the last year more than 100 media workers worldwide have been killed while doing their jobs - their deaths either accidental or targeted. In the Asia-Pacific region, 32 colleagues have paid the ultimate price.2011Gold Walkley Award winner Sarah Ferguson will deliver the keynote speech.


Cambodia: On May 3, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) will hold an internal members’ meeting and discuss the topic: "Issues and Challenges of Media in Cambodia." CAPJ will also join with other media organizations in Cambodia and UNESCO to celebrate WPFD under the theme of Media Codes of Ethics.


East Timor:The Timor Lorosa’e Journalists' Association (TLJA) plans to reflect on press freedom conditions in East Timor, and will write an open letter to the government of Timor Leste on the freedom of the press in Timor. This will be supported internationally by the IFJ Asia Pacific.


India:IFJ’s Indian affiliates, the National Union of Journalists (India), the Indian Journalists' Union and the All India Newspaper Employees Federation will participate in the WPFD event being organised in Delhi by UNESCO and the UN Information Centre.


Indonesia: The Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) has stated that free media must provide benefits to the community by showing the path to democracy and social welfare. They are supporting the 2012 theme, "New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies", in recognition of this. AJI’s national campaign for WPFD 2012 demands that the Indonesian government end impunity and work seriously on investigating journalist murder cases.

Japan: SHIMBUN ROREN – the Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers' Unions will hold an event under the auspices of their affiliate member, the ASAHI Newspaper workers' Union. This year marks the 25 Year Anniversary of the May 3, 1987 incident, where a man wearing a ski mask with a shotgun, broke into the Asahi Shimbun Hanshin bureau at night, and shot and killed Mr. Kojiri Tomohiro (then 29 years old), a newspaper reporter and inflicted serious injury on a senior reporter.Since 1988, the Asahi Newspaper workers' Union has held a meeting with citizens, in order to keep and defend freedom of speech and not to allow violence to threaten it. SHIMBUN ROREN’s President attends every meeting and delivers a message of support to the members and participants.The criminal has still not yet been arrested, but prescription (in the Diet) was materialized in 2002.


Malaysia: The National Union of Journalists will commemorate WPFD as an occasion for many stakeholders to celebrate the significance of media freedom, to examine how to deepen it, and to deliberate on how to best resolve the new challenges of elaborating this right in both complex and changing circumstances. Their World Press Freedom Day activities are aimed at achieving the following objectives:


1.    To sensitise media practitioners and general public on the value of press freedom and the role the press plays in a democratic society.

2.    To provide a platform to the participants to exchange critical views on press freedom, this will result in a better understanding of the significance of freedom of expression. 

3.    To use media freedom to improve the democratic development of a county.

4.    To capture and sustain the gains on freedom of expression created by social media and on the internet more broadly.


Their key activity for WPFD 2012 is a Forum that will be held at the Universiti Selangor, with a Keynote Address, followed by a Panel Discussion. The members of the panel will comprise Malaysian senior journalists, as well as prominent human rights / press freedom advocators. The event has been organised by the Asian Institute for Development Communication (AIDCOM) every year since 1998. As in previous years, the event will be jointly organised with the cooperation of the NUJ and the Universiti Selangor, as well as media professionals and members of the academia. The event will bring together a broad range of media professionals, journalists, communicators, academics, human right activists, students, and the public on a theme that addresses the status of media freedom helping to transform societies faced by media in our rapidly changing world. 


Maldives: The Maldives Journalists Association will be launching a right to information campaign on May 3. They have printed T shirts proclaiming "right to information: your right." A small press conference will also be held on the day to highlight the importance of the right to information.


Mongolia: TheConfederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) will commemorate WPFD 2012 with the following activities surrounding the May 3 event:


1. CMJ will hold a report discussion entitled “Press Freedom Makes a Contribution to Social    Change” on  May 1, 2012 in cooperation with the Globe International NGO and the Press Institute of Mongolia.

2. CMJ will raise awareness around the history of 19 journalists who were punished in mass due to an article published in a newspaper of Mongolia during the socialist dictatorship (1978-1979) and a measure will be undertaken to organize to apologize to the victims.

3. Recommendations and appeal will be issued for the media and journalists on how to work in emergency conditions.

4. CMJ will demand that the Parliament immediately approves a new Law on Press Freedom which has discussed repeatedly been postponed from the Parliamantary session.


Nepal: The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) plans to undertake a number of activities in part association with UNESCO’s Kathmandu Office to mark World Press Freedom Day 2012:

1.    Issue a “Message from the FNJ President”.

2.    Organize a Rallyfor Press Freedom that will start from New Baneshwore (the venue of the Constituent Assembly) at 7:30 am and will end at Babarmahal on May 3, 2012.

3.    Display the “List of Nepali Journalists killed since the conflict period to date (available with FNJ)” on a Flex Banner and have it displayed at prominent spots at the Rally for Press Freedom end-venue and Interaction Program.

4.    Organize an Interaction Program on “Peace Process, Constitution Making and Freedom of Press and Freedom of Expression” of around 100 participants (including senior political leaders and journalists).

5.    Observe a one-minute silence in memory of journalists killed before the start of the Interaction Program.


The following publications will also be launched: the FNJ Annual Report 2012 (Nepali and English versions). The Report of International Media Mission, 23-27 February 2012 (in English). And the Analysis of Constitutional Proposals on Freedom of Expression, Media Freedom and the Right to Information (in Nepali and English) by Toby Mendel, CLD.


A number of award recipients will also be named: Freedom Fighters for Press Freedom(3awards); one Krishna Prasad Bhattarai Award; and one Uma Singh Award.

New Zealand: On May 3, the NZ Engineering, Printing, and Manufacturing Union (NZEPMU) will hold what has now become the annual N.Z. Press Freedom Debate (a fun/satirical debate) to raise money for the Media Safety and Solidarity Fund. The debate topic is this year is: Politicians should be hacked off with hacking journalists. Teams will include MPs Annette King, Lianne Dalziel, Winston Peters and Simon Bridges, Entertainer Pinky Agnew and TV political reporter Patrick Gower are also taking part. TV3's political editor Duncan Garner is chair.

Pakistan: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has two main events scheduled for May 3. In collaboration with the IFJ, the PFUJ sent missions to Pakistan’s four provinces to gather information about the state of journalism. The reports will be formally launched at a press conference on WPFD. PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat, Secretary-General Amin Yousuf, the PFUJ Punjab mission leader Raja Riaz, Balochistan Mission leader Tahir Rathore and KP/FATA mission leader Yousuf Ali will address the press conference. Later in the day, a protest demonstration will be held by journalists outside the parliament house against those newspapers which have failed to pay employee salaries.

Philippines: The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is cooperating with Philippine Press Institute to co-host events under the theme: “Forum to Decriminalize Libel”. The events will take place at Universities around the Philippines, including in Manila, Davao, Cebu and General Santos.

Sri Lanka:An event has been organized to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day 2012 by Sri Lanka Press Institute. The main objective of this event is to hold a panel discussion about Press Freedom in Sri Lanka. A number of media organisations, and IFJ affiliate the Federation of Media

 Employees' Trade Unions (FMETU) FMETU have been invited to this event.

Pacific Region:The first Press Freedom in the Pacific Report will be launched to coincide with World Press Freedom Day 2012 event and union-building training in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The launch will be attended by the country’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.


South Asia:The launch of the ninth Press Freedom Monitoring Report for South Asia (2011-2012) Mr. Sukumar Muralidharan, South Asia Program Manager of the International Federation of Journalists Asia Pacific, will take place at a conference in Haryana, India, on May 3. The conference has been organised by the Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD), with support from Sesame Workshop India Trust and UNESCO.



For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific


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For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific


Find the IFJ on Facebook: