World Press Freedom Day

Declining Media Freedom and the post-2015 Agenda

Freedom House released their annual Freedom of the Press survey today stating that “global press freedom fell to its lowest level in over a decade in 2013” citing four major reasons for the decline: attacking the messenger, targeting foreign media, clamping down on new media, and controlling content via ownership. Karin Karlekar, the project director of Freedom House’s survey, emphasized the idea that while people around the world are gaining access to more media, governments are becoming more sophisticated in their attempts to control the media.

Panelists at Freedom House's Freedom of the Press Survey launch.

Panelists at Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Survey launch.

These grim findings are certainly a reason to mobilize the development community to understand the importance of the media sector.  At CIMA’s World Press Freedom Day reception on April 30, Congressman Adam Schiff from California discussed the importance of the freedom of expression agenda to U.S. policymakers. He stated that development, rule of law, and free media are all intertwined, and that policymakers must be nimble when supporting new media and institutionalizing traditional media.

At the international level, media practitioners will gather at UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day celebration next week in Paris. The focus of this meeting is “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Agenda.”   CIMA senior director Mark Nelson recently wrote about his experience at a high level meeting where he and others concentrated on raising awareness about including media in the Sustainable Development Goals, the new set of goals that will replace the Millennium Development Goals.

“We would like to make sure that everyone who is working on this knows that a free, independent, and professional media is not only a goal in its own right, but can help the would meet the other goals they are setting.”-Mark Nelson

CIMA believes that incorporating media into the new SDGs will allow the media sector to develop throughout the world, and will continue to make efforts to influence this debate.

For more information on World Press Freedom Day and other events throughout the world, click here.

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