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Celebrating World Press Freedom Day 2024 – “A Press For The Planet: Journalism In The Face Of The Environmental Crisis”

On May 2nd, 2024, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, luminaries from across South Asia convened to commemorate World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) under the overarching theme of “A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis.” This significant event, organized by UNESCO in collaboration with Transparency International Bangladesh and Article 19 South Asia, aimed to underscore the critical role of journalism and press freedom in addressing the pressing environmental challenges of our time.

Mr. Viranjana Herath, Chairperson of the Media Law Forum in Sri Lanka, distinguished himself as a notable representative during a moderated panel discussion on Media Defense for Crisis Reporting. His insightful contributions enriched the dialogue concerning the challenges and opportunities confronting press freedom, especially within the realm of environmental reporting.

The global theme for WPFD 2024 resonated deeply with the current environmental crises facing the planet: climate change, rising pollution levels, and biodiversity loss. Recognizing the pivotal role of the media in raising awareness, fostering dialogue, and advocating for change, the event aimed to highlight the intersection of journalism, freedom of expression, and environmental sustainability.

The program encompassed various initiatives to promote dialogue and raise awareness. Key among them were two half-day panel discussions featuring government officials, ministers, diplomats, journalists, and experts. The sessions delved into topics ranging from environmental reporting challenges to media defense for crisis reporting, engaging participants in dynamic conversations and facilitating knowledge exchange.

In addition to the panel discussions, the event embraced social media engagement and livestreaming to extend its reach and amplify its impact. By leveraging digital platforms, the celebration of WPFD 2024 reached a wider audience, fostering greater awareness and dialogue on the importance of press freedom and environmental journalism.

The outcomes of this commemoration extend beyond the event itself. Through increased public awareness and advocacy, the initiative aims to catalyze positive changes in government policies and practices regarding press freedom, particularly concerning climate reporting. By fostering a safer environment for journalists and nurturing an informed citizenry, the initiative strives to enhance the media landscape’s contribution to environmental preservation and climate action.

Ultimately, the regional celebration of World Press Freedom Day serves as a testament to the enduring importance of press freedom in upholding democracy, advancing human rights, and addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability. As stakeholders continue to collaborate and advocate for press freedom, the legacy of WPFD 2024 promises to inspire positive change and transformative action across South Asia and beyond.



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