WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY TO FOCUS ON TERRORISM AND MEDIA - Ceremony in ManilaParis - Terrorism and Media is the theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day, celebrated around the world on May 3. Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and UNESCO Director-General Koīchiro Matsuura will mark the event with a ceremony at Malacaņang Palace, in Manila.
A two-day conference on Terrorism and Media will be held at the Westin Philippine Plaza in Manila on May 1 and 2. It will focus on the impact of terrorism on the media around the world and feature case studies from the Philippines, Colombia, the Basque Country in Spain, Zimbabwe and Chechnya. Themes to be debated include: the events of September 11 and their effect on freedom of information; problems in reporting on terrorism; and safety of journalists working in conflict situations.
Journalists from around the world whose daily work exposes them to the dangers of terrorism and violence will take part in the conference, as will representatives of leading international professional organizations and non-governmental civil rights bodies including Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters sans Frontičres and the World Association of Newspapers.
Participants at the conference are expected to adopt recommendations concerning press freedom and the safety of journalists working in violent environments.
This year's $25,000 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be presented by Director-General Koichiro Matsuura to Zimbabwean journalist Geoffrey Nyarota at Malacaņang Palace on the morning of May 3 in the presence of President Macapagal-Arroyo.
Mr Nyarota, 50, is the editor-in-chief of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News. Despite many death threats and two bomb attacks against his paper, Mr Nyarota has persisted in denouncing corruption and criminal activities among top government officials in his country. He has been arrested and detained repeatedly and there are several libel suits pending against him.
Also during the conference, President Macapagal-Arroyo and Director-General Matsuura will present a plaque commemorating the late Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a victim of international terrorism, who was assassinated in Pakistan in February this year. US Deputy Chief of Mission to the Philippines Robert M. Fitts and James Hookway, Wall Street Journal Bureau chief, will receive the plaque on behalf of Marianne Pearl, the widow of the murdered journalist.
Two photographic exhibitions will be held alongside the conference. One, organized by Agence France Presse at the Westin Plaza, about terrorism while another, at the National Museum, will focus on press freedom.
Press contacts in Paris: Roni Amelan (+33 1) 45 68 16 50 or Isabelle Le Fournis (+33 1) 45 68 17 48 - UNESCO Bureau of Public Information
And, from April 30 through May 4, in Manila: (632) 551-5555