Mgr. Lucia Heldáková, PhD., The Institute of Social Sciences CSPS SAS, firstname.lastname@example.org
30 years ago, from April 29 to May 3, 1991 there was a meeting of African journalists at the conference of UNESCO with goal to support independent and pluralistic African media, which were (not only) at that time facing enormous pressure, when they often as journalists had to deal with different violent practices too. The conference was organized in Namibia, in the town Windhoek, it was supported by 12 international agencies and 63 participants from 38 countries were present. Namibia as an independent state from 1991 had to deal with newly discovered freedom, slow resolutions of apartheid in South Africa, as well with growing opposition against African dictatorship and autocratic regimes. Upcoming democratic reforms were implemented due to the conference in Windhoek and in the fast changing media environment in the whole continent. The meaning of Windhoek declaration, which was the result of conference, is the protection of freedom, plurality and independence of press and media, active protection of journalists and expanding the possibilities of citizens to use the freedom of expression. The states commit to the obligation to avoid controlling the media and creating state media monopoly. Declaration integrates 19 basic regulations necessary for keeping press freedom.
Based on the recommendations from UNESCO organisation after finishing conference and writing down Windhoek declaration was by UN on May 3 as World Press Freedom Day.
4 most significant objectives of celebration of this day according UN are:
- to celebrate basic principles of press freedom
- to evaluate the status of the press freedom in the whole world
- to protect media against the attacks on their independence
- and to pay tribute to the journalists, who died during the execution of their duties
From 1991 each year is the conference organized by the UNESCO in another town, state and in another continent and each time is accompanied by new central topic associated current medial issues as are misinformation, media barriers, terrorism, justice, access to the information, the role of media, etc. The conclusions of conference have to contribute by the open discussion to the evaluation of state and solving the problems associated with press freedom in the whole world.
In 1997 was the organization of the conference for World Press Freedom Day connected with the initiative of executive board of UNESCO, which was delivery of World award for Press Freedom and it was named after journalist Guillermo Cano  The award winner could be the person or the institution, who significantly contributed to the protection and/or support of press freedom anywhere in the world. The award is delivered by general director of UNESCO on May 3 and it´s based on the recommendations of independent committee, which consist from 14 news professionals.
*More information about the price which was paid for the press freedom are HERE.
The title of this year´s conference theme is “Information as public good” and after 30 years is coming back “home”, since it will again happen in capitol of Namibia Windhoek between April 29 and May 3, 2021.
*You can see program and other details of conference HERE.
Free, safe, independent and pluralistic press is basic stone of each functional democracy, because it contributes to the protection of all other human rights. Due to brave work of journalists many times were discovered the cases of torture, discrimination, corruption or abusing the competencies. Telling the truth is often first, basic step to begin correction of violation human rights and towards responsibilities of governments.
The press freedom is recognized human right, which is established in intrastate as well international laws, mostly in Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in European Convention on Human Rights, which protect physical integrity of journalists. Despite all of this, Europe still isn´t safe place for press. Journalists receive muzzles, they are intimidated, blamed and even today very often the pay the highest price for their work. The media are not free and information, which are offered to the public are purposeful and tributary. 32 years after Velvet revolution, 30 years after signing the Windhoek declaration the situation changed partially, but it was not solved. At the end, the creators of politics, the opinion-forming body as well the personalities of public life have to condemn the violence made on journalists and accept higher level of public criticism and to give up violent or intimidating reactions. But until when? Until when we will create free functioning of press? When we will start to live like this? And is it even possible? It´s disturbing, that Europe in 21st century still needs similar recommendations and there are still the same issues. This sad situation should not weaken our determination to protect free press. By protecting the journalists and keeping the press freedom we empower the democracy.
Resources: www.unesdoc.unesco.org, www.unesco.org, www.journalismfund.eu, www.un.org
 Guillermo Cano Isaza was Colombian journalist, who was killed in front of the journal´s office, where he worked El Espectator in Colombian Bogota on December 17, 1986. The reason of his death were his documents, which convicted powerful Colombian drug barons.