Media Freedom is key in driving democracy: UN chief urges the world
NEW YORK - As the world celebrates the 2022 International Day of Democracy, states have been urged to enhance media freedom as a catalyst in promoting democracy and better governance.
The International Day of Democracy is celebrated as part of Sustainable Development Goal 16 titled peace, justice, and strong Institutions.
According to UNESCO, the International Day of Democracy serves as an opportunity to assess the state of democracies in the world. It also gives a chance to highlight the crucial role of parliaments and to celebrate their capability to deliver justice, development, human rights, and peace.
In his message to mark the celebrations, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said an independent media will form a basis for promoting full participation in decision making.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres through his Twitter Account did say that “Across the world, democracy is backsliding. Media workers face censorship, detention & physical violence, often with impunity. Without a free press, democracy cannot survive. Now is the time to stand up for democratic principles & protect the rights of all. #Democracy Day.”
This year, the day is focused on the “Importance of media freedom to democracy, peace, and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals”.
He further said that it's time to stand up for the democratic principles of equality, inclusion, and solidarity. “Stand with those who strive to secure the rule of law and promote full participation in decision making. This year we focus on the cornerstone of democratic societies, free, independent and pluralistic media,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Guterres noted that media workers are facing risks such as censorship, detention, physical violence, and even killings.
“Most states especially in developing nations have made attempts to silence journalists are growing more brazen by the day from verbal assault to online surveillance and legal harassment, especially against women journalists,” he added.
The International Day of Democracy is usually celebrated on September 15 and is aimed at reviewing the state of democracy in the world. It also aims at highlighting the role of parliaments and electoral bodies in delivering justice.
The International Day of Democracy was established after a resolution was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the resolution was geared toward strengthening and consolidating democracy.
The International Day of Democracy was first celebrated in 2008 and since then, numerous parliamentary events have been organized worldwide.