5 Facts: Press Freedom

press freedom

World Press Freedom Day is observed on May 3rd. For this 5 Facts post, we share some more related information:

  1. May 3, 2016 marks the 23rd anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. The call to observe the importance of press freedom was originally made at a meeting of African journalists in Namibia, convened by UNESCO in 1991. The date was proclaimed at the UN General Assembly in 1993.
  2. According to Swiss-based group Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), 141 journalists were killed in 2012. The group, which fights for the protection of journalists, said the figure was up by 31 per cent from 2011. At least 37 journalists were killed in Syria and, closer to home, 11 were killed in Mexico and Brazil each and six in Honduras.
  3. Jamaica leads most countries in the western hemisphere in press freedom, ranking 10th in the 2016 Press Freedom Index, produced by international media watchdog group, Reporters Without Borders.
  4. The United States Senate established its first press gallery in 1841. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate established press galleries when they moved into their current chambers in 1857 and 1859, respectively. However, the White House did not designate a press room until 1902.
  5. The House of Lords passed the Defamation Act on April 22, 2013, wrapping up a three-year campaign for the reform of Britain’s libel laws. The Act will help to protect free speech, as well as reverse Britain’s reputation as the ‘libel capital of the world.’ The country earned that designation as its libel laws allowed anyone of any nationality to sue in British courts if they could prove their reputation within the UK was at stake due to stories reported in the media.

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