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Press Freedom and disinformation during the COVID-19 crisis, flagship event of World Press Freedom Day 2020

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated every year on 3 May, UNESCO and its Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, will host an online discussion on the importance of free media in providing the public with reliable independent information, vital in times of crisis. The High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context, will be streamed online on Monday 4 May.
UNESCO’s flagship event of World Press Freedom Day will bring together UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, journalist Younes Mujahid, President of the International Federation of Journalists, Maria Ressa, investigative journalist from the Philippines, founder of the Rappler news website, and the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, alongside a number of other high level participants. Prominent Mexican-born American journalist Jorge Ramos will moderate the debate.
The debate will address the danger of what the UN Secretary-General has described as the “dangerous epidemic of misinformation.” It will advocate the need for a free press in countering disinformation which is putting lives at risk and undermining the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by promoting false cures, conspiracy theories and myths.
The debate will follow the launch on 3 May of a global UNESCO media campaign called FACTS which highlights the role of free and independent media in the context of COVID-19. Leading media organizations around the world are joining the campaign, developed by communication agency DDB.
Every year on 3 May, the world comes together to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, take stock of freedom of expression around the world, and pay tribute to journalists who have faced attacks or lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 on the Recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.

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