Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
Mogens Pedersen, Danish Ambassador to Uganda, who spoke at the launch of the HRNJ-U report on April 27, said attacks on the media have a chilling effect on the willingness and ability of journalists to cover sensitive issues that may be relevant from a human rights and governance perspective.
A fearless, independent and strong press is believed to be one of the most vital signs of a properly functioning democracy and this day is commemorated to raise awareness on just that. From global broadcasters that bring the world into our homes, to local newspapers that empower us to shape the communities we live in - we know that a free press helps build stronger and healthier societies. "It is the multiplicity of ideas and human expression that makes us more vibrant as a society", Modi tweeted. "It is due to these countless women and men that the spirit of a free press is significantly enhanced", wrote the PM.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday pledged an unfettered environment for the media to do its work, saying while journalists in the country are free to criticise him they must be fair and mindful of national interest, in doing so.
But how much threat is leveled against free press?
In a report released byReports Without Borders last month, Pakistan ranked at 139 among 180 countries with no difference in its position compared to the 2017 index.
The top 10 countries in this year's list are: Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Denmark and Costa Rica.
Eritrea has the poorest showing among African countries while North Korea is last on the worldwide ranking. China stands at 176, just one place above war-torn Syria.
"It is important to call the attention of all on a day like this that a nation whose economy does not and can not support the economy of its media industry can not thumb its chest that its press is free".