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Ahead of the 2018 global conference of the World Press Freedom Day Celebrations, a number of pre-event activities will be undertaken by some stakeholders. Below are the organizations and the various activities outlined.

IREX events

Organizer: IREX
Date: 1 May
Contact: Lilian Makokha (e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Type of event: Open for professionals working in the area of Journalism/Media Safety/Human Rights

Introduction to SAFE - Brief introduction of the SAFE Program (15 mins)
SAFE Analogy of Journalist Safety - Introduction to journalism safety in a holistic and integrated approach using simple and engaging techniques to enhance engagement, ownership and implementation of training. (45 mins)

Journalism Safety Planning - Integrated practical approach to educating on the importance of planning and its critical importance in playing a key preventative measure in reducing media freedom infringements and/or risks and threats. (1 hour)

Self-Awareness and its relation to journalist safety - The importance of being self-aware as a journalist and its relation to safety and how it is connected to other elements of safety i.e. from digital safety to physical safety. Practical sessions shall be conducted to create awareness of their psychosocial well-being and connect it to safety related topics. (1 hour)

Annual meeting of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s IPDC

Organizer: UNESCO / International Programme for the Development of Communication
Date: 30 April - 1 May 
Type of event: Closed

The 62nd IPDC Bureau Meeting serves as a platform for the Bureau to assume full responsibility for project selection, approval and allocation of funds from the Special Account, and plans the organization of work of the Council session.

Authors/Journalists Rights in Africa

Organizer: Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) / Federation for African Journalists (FAJ)
Date:1 May
Venue: Kempinski Hotel
Type of event: Open for journalists, media practitioners, editors and media owners
Contact: Chris Elliott and Gabriel Baglo (e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Roundtable on "Authors/Journalists Rights in Africa" to discuss the issue of copyright, share experiences and raise awareness of authors’/journalists rights in Africa.

 Workshop on Safety of Women Journalists

Organizer: Embassy of Norway in Accra, Norwegian Union of Journalists (NUJ)
Date: 30 April to 1 May
Venue: Press Center
Contact: Eva Stabell (e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Type of event: Closed

Reports on attacks and harassment against female journalists have increased worldwide. Surveys and stories told have also shown that the newsroom is a place of vulnerability for women journalists. Gender-based discrimination at work can be reduced when women have the tools to stop harassment and discrimination. Knowledge about women’s rights and international law is also useful in journalism. And all journalists reporting from protests, unrest and conflict zones need to know about safety rules and how to protect themselves.

Since 2015, The Norwegian Union of Journalists has trained journalists in Africa to organize workshops for their female colleagues in Safety and Equality. The training - funded by the Norwegian MFA - is done in alliance with The International Federation of Journalists and in cooperation with our African sister unions. Currently, more than 1000 journalists have attended the Safety and Equality workshops.

Special Mechanism for Media Freedom in the Arab World

Organizer: MedMedia Programme and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Date: 1 May
Venue: Kempinski Hotel, Palm Jumeirah meeting room
Contact:  Sarah Bouchetob, Moonir Zaarour (e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Type of event: Banquet with buffet (invitation) and a panel discussion (Open with invitation)

Existing intergovernmental mechanisms for freedom of expression vary in terms of mandate, structure and resources. With the support of MedMedia, an EU-funded programme, the IFJ launched a discussion on the development of a Special Mechanism for Media Freedom that responds to the needs, constraints and legal framework of the Arab region.

A comprehensive consultation process was carried out in this context, bringing together experts, media organizations, journalists’ leaders, regulatory authorities and representatives from national human rights centers across the Arab World, to give their insight on the mechanism’s technical proposal and the Declaration for Media Freedom in the Arab World, a ground-breaking charter which sets out 16 key principles aimed at promoting the highest international standards of media freedom and protecting journalists’ rights.

The Declaration was launched following a 20-month open consultation process on World Press Freedom Day 2016 in Casablanca, with the support of over 100 delegates representing a wide range of groups from across the Arab World and global organisations, including the UNESCO (cf. final statement).  Since then, the initiative has been given wider support, including from Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHR). Six Arab countries have formally signed its Declaration: Palestine, Tunisia, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco and Mauritania.

This meeting will discuss the methodology for an annual review to be developed in the context of this initiative, a background paper clarifying the Declaration’s key principles and the state of play of the initiative. 

Moderator: Monir Zaarour, IFJ Arab World and Middle East Policy Director & MedMedia expert.


  • Sylvie Coudray, Chief, Section for Freedom of Expression, UNESCO
  • Younes Mjahed, IFJ Senior Vice President, SNPM General Secretary & MedMedia expert
  • Réal Barnabé, MedMedia Team Leader 
  • Toby MENDEL, Director Centre for Law and Democracy
  • Ammar el-DWAIK, Director of the Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in Palestine and member in the Arab Network of Human Rights Institutions (ANHRI)
  • West Africa Regional Convening of MFWA and National Partners

Organizer: Media Organization for West Africa (MFWA) with support from Open Society Foundation (OSF)
Date:May 1
Type of event: Closed

Over the course of the last decade, the media landscape and conditions of press freedom in West Africa have changed rapidly. A vast array of trends manifested itself within the region, ranging from the growing access and influence of new media technologies to the continued existence and application of restrictive laws in several countries, amongst others. These changes have had a profound effect on journalism, press freedom and the safety of journalists, both positively and negatively.

Press freedom, safety of journalists and the journalistic landscape in West Africa are faced with a myriad of interwoven complex issues. It requires deeper analysis and introspection among the press freedom and media development community in the region. A better understanding allows for informed strategies in dealing with the prevailing challenges at both national and regional levels. 

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) will convene a regional strategic meeting with the heads of all MFWA national partner organizations’ from 16 countries. The meeting will discuss and address how to tackle challenges to press freedom and the safety of journalists in West Africa, with an aim to strengthen partnerships and to share knowledge. A representative of at least one other organisation from outside the region will also be present to share some experience on the issue of safety of journalists from the Eastern Africa perspective. 

Symposium on Assessing Press Freedom in Ghana’s search for Democracy: Lessons Learnt and the Way forward

Organizer: Ghana Journalist Association (GJA)

Date: April 26,2018

Venue: Press Centre

Time: 9:30am

Contact: Linda Adjei

 Training Workshop for Female Journalists on Safety

Organizer: GJA

Date: 30, April

Venue: Press Centre

Time: 9:00am

Inauguration of Association of Women in the Media

Date: April 30, 2018

Venue: Press Centre

Time: 10:30am

 GJA/FAJ on “Authors and Journalists Right in Africa”

Date: May 1, 2018

Venue: Kempinski Hotel

Time: 9:00am

 Vigil and Welcome Reception

Date: May 1, 2018

Venue: Press Centre

Time: 6:30pm

 Lecture/debate on press freedom, freedom of expression, and access to infoirmation: International Obligations & Current Challenges for Ghana

Organizer: University of Ghana Centre for European Studies, EU Delegation to Ghana, Media 4 Democracy.EU
Date: 4 May at 10AM - 1PM
Venue: Law faculty conference hall, University of Ghana
Contact: Caroline Giraud (e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Type of event: Open to UNESCO WPFD conference delegates, with prior registration
Participants: Students, media actors, academics, Ghana Civil society and diplomatic representations.

The Centre for European Studies (CES), in collaboration with Media4Democracy.EU presents a public lecture in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day. The debate will be held with international experts and Ghana Civil Society and media representatives.  

Main speaker: Helen Darbishire, Media4Democracy.EU Chairman - Professor Ransford Gyampo, Director, CES

 Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Global Forum for Media Development

Organizer: Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
Type of event: Closed

Source: (UNESCO)

A training workshop has been organized at Sunyani  by the Ministry of Information  for Regional and District Information officers (RIOs/DIOs) in the Northern sector.

 The workshop brought together, 104 RIOs and DIOs from the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions.

 The ‘Trainer of Trainers’ workshop is being undertaken by the  Ministry of Information  to enhance the knowledge of Information Officers on Government flagship programmes, to equip them to  disseminate factual and accurate information ahead of a forthcoming exercise to be known as “The 2018 Town Hall” series.

 At the Sunyani workshop, presentation on government flagship programmes and the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Planning (CPESDP) in particular, were made.

The resource persons for the workshop included the Technical Advisor to the Vice-the President, Dr, Gideon Boako and the Senior Technical Advisor, Development Planning at the Ministry of Planning, Dr Kojo Essiem Mensah.

In his opening remarks, the Deputy Minister in charge of Operations at the Ministry of Information, Mr Perry Okudzeto, underscored the importance of the workshop in helping to strengthen the Department. It was intended, he said,  to refresh the minds of Information Officers on government policies and bring them up to speed with progress made in them so that they would be able to disseminate accurate and factual information on the policies.

According to the Deputy Minister, “It is the duty of Ministry of Information to ensure that information on government policies is shared. He described Information Officers as “the crusaders of government information” and urged them to fulfil their important role with dedication, as well as expertise.

 The Deputy Minister announced that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MM DCES) would also do presentations as part of the Town Hall Meetings. He said presentations by MMDCES will be at the national level, while District Information Officers would do theirs at the district level.

The Ag. Director of the Information Services Department, Madam Efua Essel, urged the staff to do their best to deliver on the Town Hall Meetings



The Ministry of Information in fulfillment of its mandate of disseminating information on major Government policies, programmes and activities is  expected to commence the 2018 Town Hall Meetings in one hundred and fifty two (152) Metropolitan/Municipal and District Assembly areas.
The Town Hall Meetings are designed to provide a platform for local and national politicians, as well as members of parliament to meet their constituents for the purpose of explaining major Government policies and programs to them.
The 2018 Town Hall Meeting would be launched soon, after which it would be  implemented concurrently in fifty (50) districts nationwide for the first phase. 

As part of the global Celebration of World Press Freedom Day, a prize of $25,000 US is presented annually to an individual journalist, or organization, adjudged to have made an outstanding contribution towards the achievement of press freedom, in the past year. Here is a description of the Prize and its origins.

The “UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize” has become a significant part of the global celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) since 1997. The prize is worth 25,000 USD and is presented to an organization or individual deemed by the judges to have made an outstanding contribution, amidst danger to the defence and promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world.

The award was instituted to commemorate the murder in 1986 of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist and editor of a daily newspaper, “El Espectator”. He was killed in front of his newspaper house in Bogata by two hit-men linked to a drugs cartel. His murder was suspected to be a reprisal for a campaign he had been waging against the influence of drug traffickers in Colombian politics. Three years after his murder, the newspaper house was aso bombed. Four people who were linked to his murder were found guilty of conspiracy to murder and imprisoned in 1995. But three of the four killers had their sentences overturned on an appeal.

First presented 21 years ago, the award's winner is announced every year on May 3, as part of the global celebrations of the WPFD. The announcement is made at a gala Dinner and Award night which is held in recognition of the handiwork and resilience of a journalist/organization whose determination and courage in fighting for freedom of expression, has achieved recognisable results. The prize is conferred by the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the individual or an organization chosen by a competent jury, after a selection process that lasts not more than two months maximum. The jury consists of a six-member panel, one each from the UN Regions of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Pacific, Western Europe, Northern America and the Middle East (Arabic), together with an independent member.

Entries for the award are submitted by journalists and or organization working in the area of freedom of expression.

Since the first award was made 21 years ago, the prize has been awarded to 21 journalists and activists across the globe, in some cases posthumously. Journalists from Syria, Mexico and China have won the award twice each. The following are the persons who have won the award for their meritorious contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom since the inception of the award: GAO YU, a Deputy Editor in- Chief-of Economics Weekly, run by dissident intellectuals of China, who is also a free-lance journalist for several newspapers in China and Hong Kong, won the award in 1997 for her fight for press freedom and media independence in China. She was detained in 1989 following the Tiananmen protest, and released 14 months later on health grounds. But she was again arrested on October 2, 1993 and sentenced in November 1994 to a term of six years imprisonment. Her crime? “Leaking state secrets”.

CHRISTINE ANYANWU was publisher and editor in chief of the national news weekly The Sunday Magazine of Lagos, Nigeria, when she was arrested on May 31, 1995 because she had published articles reporting that there was no evidence to support an alleged plot to overthrow Nigeria's military regime of the time, headed by the late dictator, General Sani Abacha, After her arrest, she was condemned to life imprisonment by a special military tribunal in a trial held behind closed doors. She was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano prize in 1998. 

JESUS BLANCORNELAS, a Mexican journalist, was adjudged the winner of award in 1991. He had survived an assassination attempt on his life for his exposè on corruption and drug trafficking.

The Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper published by the Committee for the Defence of Democratic Freedom (CDF) in Syria and a contributor to the Al-hurriya, NIZAR NAYYOUF, won the prize in 2000. He has been imprisoned since 1992, when he was sentenced to 10 years of forced labour for belonging to the banned CDF and for disseminating “false information”. During his incarceration, he was tortured and held in solitary confinement in the military prison of Mezze in Damascus.

UWIN TIN, a former editor of the daily Hanthawati newspaper in Myanmar; Vice Chair of Myanmar Writers Association and Founder of the National League for Democracy of Myanmar, was adjudged the winner of the award in 2001. He was arrested in 1989 and accused of being a member of the Banned Communist Party of Myanmar and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. He was later transported to Insein jail in Rangoon. In 1996, U Win Tin was tried in prison and sentenced to an additional five years for breaking prison regulations that prohibit the possession of writing materials.

AMIRA HASS, an Israeli journalist, won the award in the year 2003 for her resilience in exposing the plight and hardships that Palestinian citizens go through on a daily basis.

RAUL RIVERO, a Cuban journalist, won the award in 2004, followed by CHENG YIZHONG, a Chinese journalist, in 2005. May Chidiac, a vocal Lebanese journalist, was the victim of a car bomb attack in September 2005 and had one of her hands and her left leg amputated. She won the prize in 2006.

ANNA POLITKORSKAYA, a Russian media activist, won the award posthumously in 2007. She was adjudged the winner for her “incredible courage and stubbornness” in chronicling events in Chechnya, after the whole world had given up on the conflict. .

LYDIA CACHO RIBEIRO, a Mexican investigative journalist and contributor to the daily newspaper, La Voz del Caribe, won the award in 2008 for her exposès of political corruption, organized crimes and domestic violence – all published, despite death threats.

The late journalist and editor of “Sunday Leader” newspaper in Sri Lanka, Lasantha Wickrematunge , won in 2009 and MONICA GONZALEZE MUJICA, a journalist from Chile, won in 2010 for her fight against dictatorship in Chile.

Others are the 2011 winner: AHMED ZEIDABADI, an imprisoned Iranian journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of “Azad” newspaper, and contributor to the Tehran-based daily, Hamshahari, the BBC Persian service, and the Persian/English news site, Rooz; and EYNULLA FATULLAYEZ, founder of the “Public Union of Human Rights”, a non-governmental organization in Azerbajan (who was the 2012 laureate). He was imprisoned in 2007 for his activism in the struggle for freedom of expression and of the press. He was released in 2011 through a presidential pardon.

REEYOT ALEMU, an Ethiopian journalist, won in 2013 in recognition of her “exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression”; AHMET SIK, a journalist from Turkey, won in the year 2014 ; while the 2015 prize was won by MAZEN DARWISH, a lawyer and press freedom advocate who is president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (CMFE) and one of the founders of The Voice newspaper and syriaview.net, an independent news site banned by the Syrian authorities. He has been detained since he was arrested in February 2012, together with two colleagues – Hani Al-Zitani and Hussein Ghareer.

KHADIJA ISMAYILOVA, an Azerbaijanian freelance journalist and contributor to the Azerbaijani service of Radio Free Europe, was detained in December 2014, and in September 2015, was sentenced to seven and a half years’ imprisonment on charges alleging abuse of power and tax evasion. She won the prize in 2016 and DAWIT ISAAK, an Eritrean-Swedish journalist who was imprisoned in a crackdown on the media that occurred in Eritrea in September 2001, won the prize in 2017. The last time he was heard from was in 2005.

This year's award ceremony will be held in Accra on May 2, at the opening ceremony of the WPFD global celebration to be hosted by Ghana. The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will be the Guest of Honour and the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azouley, will present the award to the winner.

The celebration closes on May 3, with a myriad of sessions and academic conferences.


Source: Munira Karim

Writer is a staff of the Ministry of Information

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