World Press Freedom Day is being observed throughout the world today, May 3, 2013. UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world.
Talking to exchange4media about the importance of press freedom in India, veteran journalist Alok Mehta remarked, “India is probably the only country where we get press freedom to a very large extent as compared to most countries. While this freedom is necessary, the current situation calls for better policy from the Government to stop all the ills going under the umbrella of press freedom.”
He further said, “It is found that today many people misusing the name of ‘press’ for personal benefit. We have discussed this issue under the aegis of the Editor’s Guild of India and have asked the Government to come up with a policy to stop this misuse. This communication policy will not only help put a cap on the misuse of press, but also stop exploitation of journalists and editors.”
UNESCO's India office and Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) are jointly organising a conference titled 'Rural Voices: Upholding Freedom of Expression through Mainstream and Alternative Media’ in New Delhi on May 3 to observe World Press Freedom Day in India.
The objective of the conference is to promote voices of communities having limited space in mainstream media. The conference will also highlight the importance of media freedom in development and rural empowerment, and will reflect on the ways in which media can help transform lives in the country’s rural and less accessible areas.