Hivos Southern Africa (Hivos) joins journalists, artists, open internet and free expression activists in the region and beyond in commemorating this year’s World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday 3 May 2017.
This year’s UNESCO theme, ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s Role in Advancing, Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies’ aptly captures the democratic importance of all media in enabling free expression and citizens’ civic engagement in Southern Africa.
Recognising this key role of the media, Hivos continues to work with journalists, media freedom advocacy organisations and online free expression activists in creating greater public appreciation and enjoyment of freedom of expression and access to information.
This is in keeping with Hivos’ global programme on freedom of expression that works to promote a safe, open internet, independent media and creative arts.
In a period where the mainstream media faces sustainability challenges and alternative internet based media platforms, inclusive of social media, are increasingly important for free expression it is imperative that all stakeholders take time to reflect on these issues.
In doing so, stakeholders must as suggested by this year’s theme, remember that 'critical minds for critical times' are needed in protecting and promoting human rights in Southern Africa.
Hivos therefore wishes all regional and international stakeholders involved in mainstream journalism, open internet and the creative arts a progressive World Press Freedom Day 2017.