World Freedom of the Press Day is a day to recongnise the fundamental principles of media freedom, as well as to remember journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth and justice. The day also highlights the need to defend attacks on the independence of media and encourages us to understand and explore the state of media freedom around the world.
This year the day focuses on three key themes: the media and development; the safety of journalists and the integrity of journalism.
How does freedom of the press impact societies and what does it mean for peace?
Freedom of the press is a crucial ingredient of a peaceful society.
The Pillars of Peace, a research framework which identifies 8 key factors that underpin peaceful societies, highlights the significant impact the free flow of information can have on levels of peace.
Press freedom is one of the core components of the free flow of information in a society. The free flow of information captures how easily societies can gain access to information, whether the media is free and independent, and the extent to which citizens are informed and engaged with the political process.
When comparing the Global Peace Index and the Freedom of the Press Index, it is evident that countries with greater levels of press freedom are more peaceful.
There is a negative correlation between freedom of information and conflicts; in unstable environments the media can be used as a strategic targets and goals for those trying to control “news” and information flows.
According to Reporters Without Borders, there is an increase in the number of journalist killed around the world each year.
In 2013, a conservative estimate shows that 76 journalists were killed, 4 media assistants killed and 47 citizen journalists and netizens killed.
Alarmingly, in 2014 (remember, we are only in April now) 10 journalists have been killed, 6 media assistants killed, 3 journalists killed, a whopping 163 journalists imprisoned, 14 media assistants imprisoned and 164 netizens imprisoned.
There are many different ways to celebrate World Freedom of the Press day. Perhaps the best way to start is to take a look at levels of media freedom around the world, and see how your country compares. You can also find out more from Reporters Without Boarders and Freedom House.
To find out more about peace and press freedom, skip to page 36 of the Pillars of Peace report.Related Articles
From 2000-2013 over 88 journalists in Mexico were killed, and 18 disappeared, making it the Western hemisphere’s most dangerous country for the media.
Our latest research report, the Pillars of Peace, explores the attitudes and institutions that underpin peaceful societies.
Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.