- President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, H.E Hussein Ali Hassan Mwinyi
- Minister of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports of Zanzibar, Hon. Tabia Mwita Maulid
- Minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Nape Moses Nnauye
- Ambassador of Switzerland, High Commissioner of Canada, Ambassador of the United States of America
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps
- Regional Commissioner Magharib, Idrisa Kitwana Mustafa
- Fellow UN colleagues,
- Media associations, Members of the press,
- Invited guests,
Habari za Asubuhi! Asalaam Aleikhum!
I am privileged to address you today on this important occasion as we mark the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. This day allows us to reflect on the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate its existence worldwide, and remind ourselves about our joint responsibility to support and defend the media.
Today, we pay tribute to journalists who have been harmed and those who lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. It is a sobering reminder of journalists’ risks in carrying out their important work.
This year's celebration falls into the last decade for the fulfilment of the SDGs and Agenda 2030. World Press Freedom Day 2023 provides an opportunity to emphasize the role of freedom of expression and media freedom as enablers of all other human rights. The right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a prerequisite and a driver to the enjoyment of all other human rights.
In recent times, we have witnessed the crucial importance of press freedom in upholding human rights and the impact of its limitations on all fundamental freedoms. From the COVID-19 pandemic to elections, climate change, and environmental issues, the need for accurate, timely, and independent information has become more apparent than ever before.
The UN in Tanzania recognizes this need and will continue to work with the Government, partners, and the media to strengthen access to information as a public good. We commend the Government of Tanzania for the strides it continues to make in opening and strengthening the civic and media space. We encourage the completion of plans in place to improve the legal, regulatory, and operational environment for freedom of expression and media development.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression continues to play a crucial role in upholding press freedom around the world. I reaffirm our commitment to supporting the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and addressing the challenges that impede progress in this area.
Building enabling environments and capacities of duty and rights bearers remains a top priority within the current UNSDCF. UNESCO, the United Nations agency with the specific mandate to promote freedom of expression, access to information, and media development, leads this process. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNESCO and my Office, aim to develop and implement a joint program for Media Freedom, Access to Information, and the Safety of Journalists in collaboration with the ministries responsible for information, CSOs, and partners.
Distinguished guests, esteemed delegates, and colleagues,
As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, let us keep up the cooperation that brought us to this memorable event today in Zanzibar. We only stand to gain from sustaining the achievements of this teamwork between the UN, government, and partners. The outcome of this strategic dialogue will guide our collective action, strengthening the media space and the role of the media in achieving sustainable development, leaving no one behind.
Please allow me to deliver UN Secretary General’s remarks for this important day. And I quote:
For three decades, on World Press Freedom Day, the international community has celebrated the work of journalists and media workers.
This day highlights a basic truth: all our freedom depends on press freedom.
Freedom of the press is the foundation of democracy and justice. It gives all of us the facts we need to shape opinions and speak truth to power. And as this year’s theme reminds us, press freedom represents the very lifeblood of human rights.
But in every corner of the world, freedom of the press is under attack.
Truth is threatened by disinformation and hate speech seeking to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between science and conspiracy.
The increased concentration of the media industry into the hands of a few, the financial collapse of scores of independent news organizations, and an increase of national laws and regulations that stifle journalists are further expanding censorship and threatening freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, journalists and media workers are directly targeted on and offline as they carry out their vital work. They are routinely harassed, intimidated, detained, and imprisoned.
At least 67 media workers were killed in 2022 - an unbelievable 50 per cent increase over the previous year. Nearly three-quarters of women journalists have experienced violence online, and one in four have been threatened physically.
Ten years ago, the United Nations established a Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists to protect media workers and end impunity for crimes committed against them.
On this and every World Press Freedom Day, the world must speak with one voice.
Stop the threats and attacks.
Stop detaining and imprisoning journalists for doing their jobs.
Stop the lies and disinformation.
Stop targeting truth and truth-tellers.
As journalists stand up for truth, the world stands with them.
End of Quote
I wish you all a happy 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. Let us continue working together to defend and promote press freedom, ensuring journalists can carry out their vital work without fear or hindrance.