The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) will be commemorating World Press Freedom Day through the month of May. On each day the team at CCF will post material online related to the media and the work that they have done during COVID – 19. A media forum will also be held on the 29th of May with the theme – ‘Reporting During a Pandemic’ where representatives from media organisations will share some of the challenges and triumphs they have faced during this time of adversity.
World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) is annually observed on May 3rd with the focus on the respect needed for press freedom particularly by every government. WPFD is a time to reflect on the hard work carried out by media personnel’s where their freedom to share critical information is faced with various challenges. This year, we especially reflect on our own journalists and their experiences during this time of misfortune in keeping citizens informed. Access to accurate and timely information is essential for both journalists and citizens in fighting a pandemic. However, during a menacing situation like COVID-19, misinformation is an issue which has mostly plagued social media aside from other platforms. The media has worked on the frontlines to expose information that could mislead or prove futile to thousands of lives.
The freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights which must be respected by all. CCF believes that media freedom should be upheld at all times, especially during a health crisis because trusted information is essential to good governance. A healthy free media provides credible and up to date information which in these times, can greatly assist with the protection against the spread of infectious diseases. A free press that is able to ask the critical questions with a reporting on accurate, balanced and credible information is trusted by citizens. The ability to allow such a freedom is also important noting the role of the media in keeping the public informed and in supporting a democratic society especially with current efforts to return to normalcy.
We thank all media personnel who have left the safety of their homes and families to work on the frontlines during this pandemic to provide us with accurate information which has assisted in controlling the spread of the corona virus.
Happy World Press Freedom Day from the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum.