From April 29 to May 3, UNESCO will hold the World Press Freedom Day 2021 Global Conference in Windhoek, Namibia. The Gabo Foundation will participate in this event, which combines face-to-face and virtual activities, including regional forums, lectures, readings, art exhibitions, and film screenings.
As part of this commemoration, the Gabo Foundation is leading a social media campaign under the hashtag #ElMejorOficioDelMundo (Spanish for “the best job in the world”), inviting journalists from around the world to say why they consider journalism the best job in the world, as Gabriel García Márquez famously described it in this 1997 essay, and to read a favorite piece of journalistic work of their own.
Under the umbrella of the Global Conference, the Gabo Foundation and UNESCO will hold the ‘Recite and Take Action’ Festival on Saturday, May 1, 2021, a reading activity with five journalists from three continents, who will present their favorite excerpts from stories that have made a difference in the defense of freedom of the press.
Two members of the Gabo Foundation's Governing Council will participate: Mónica González (Chile), winner of the 2010 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, and María Teresa Ronderos (Colombia), director of the Latin American Center for Investigative Journalism (CLIP).
Other participants include Wahyu Dhyatmika (Indonesia), editor-in-chief for Tempo Magazine, and Jonathan de Santos (the Phillipines), news editor at Philstar.com and chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
They will be joined by Gwen Lister (Namibia) who, as founder of the host country’s largest newspaper by circulation, The Namibian, is champion of the World Press Freedom Day 2021 Global Conference.
The event will begin at 1 p.m. (Windhoek and Madrid local time; 6 a.m. Bogotá, 8 a.m. Buenos Aires). To follow the ‘Recite and Take Action’ Festival, register for free at this link.
World Press Freedom Day
Freedom of expression, of the press, and of information are crucial issues for the Gabo Foundation. Since its creation 25 years ago by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez (who practiced journalism over five decades), the Gabo Foundation has promoted independent journalism of the highest standards of rigor and ethics, practiced by professionals who are proud of their profession. This is accomplished through workshops, awards, and incentives. The foundation has supported journalism that resists and stands strong in the face of challenges, raising its voice in defense of freedom of the press and expressing its categorical rejection of actions aimed at delegitimizing and silencing journalists.
That is why the Gabo Foundation supports the celebration of Press Freedom Day whose central theme in 2021—information as a public good—is a call to renew the global commitment to freedom of expression and information. The event will open spaces for discussion and reflection on the new economic challenges facing the media sector, the gatekeeping role of internet companies and the need for greater transparency on their part, as well as the need to strengthen media and information literacy capacities around the world.
This year, World Press Freedom Day will return to its origins. It was in the Namibian capital that the historic Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press was adopted at a UNESCO conference on May 3, 1991. Recalling this date in 1993, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day.
These five days of activities in Namibia will be an opportunity to think about how, 30 years after the signing of the Windhoek Declaration, the historical connection established between the freedom to seek, share, and receive information and the public good is just as relevant as ever.