30 April 2007
 
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3 May is World Press Freedom Day

WAN World Press Freedom Day Campaign: Press Under Surveillance
The World Association of Newspapers is once again offering a package of interviews, articles, essays, infographics and advertisements to publish on 3 May to raise the importance of a free press and the necessity of protecting it against attacks, even in democracies.

The materials, on the theme "Press Under Surveillance," can be downloaded, free of charge, at http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org

The package of materials examines anti-terrorism and official secrets laws,
criminalisation of speech judged to justify terrorism, criminal prosecution of journalists for disclosing classified information, surveillance of communications without judicial authorisation, and restrictions on access to government data.

3 May Manifesto
WAN will also issue a seven-point manifesto on World Press Freedom Day, calling on the world's governments to take specific measures to protect freedom of the press in the face of widespread tightening of anti-terrorism measures.

The manifesto, which can be found at http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org (please click on the "WAN 3 May Manifesto" title to download the document), calls on governments and their agencies:
- to guarantee public availability of officially held data, information and archives accessible under Freedom of Information laws or related legal provisions;
- to guarantee the right of journalists to protect their confidential sources of information;
- to make electronic surveillance of communications dependent on judicial authorisation, control or review, and to protect the imperative independence and confidentiality of newsgathering;
- to ensure that searches of journalists offices or homes are conducted uniquely by warrant issued only when there is proven ground for suspicion of lawbreaking;
- to guarantee journalists the right to cover all sides of a story, including that of alleged terrorists, and to restrain from any hasty or unjustified criminalisation of speech;
- to abstain from prosecuting journalists who published classified information;
- to abstain from the use of government services to plant false or misleading articles masquerading as normal journalism as well as the false use of journalistic identities by intelligence agents.

World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, marks the anniversary of the 1991 Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of principles calling for a free, independent and pluralistic media throughout the world.  It has become a day to raise awareness of press freedom problems worldwide, and to recognise the sacrifices that independent media and journalists make to keep their societies informed.