From 2 to 3 May, World Press Freedom Day 2018 came to Accra. UNESCO, supported by the Government of the Republic of Ghana, organized this major event.
Over 700 delegates, mostly journalists and media practitioners, came from across the world. There were timely seminars, exhibitions, panel discussions and training sessions, as well as dinners and an awards ceremony. All of these events carried one message - Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice, and The Rule of Law.
The centre of attraction for many participating youth was the Youth Newsroom. UNIC Accra visited the Youth Newsroom and spoke to 32 journalism students from eight countries. Guided by a team of experienced professionals, these students prepared for and filed some interesting stories.
"On World Press Freedom Day, why not turn the lens on to the journalists themselves and on exciting selfie takers?" suggested Cynthia Prah, National Information Officer with UNIC Accra. The students did just that and their stories provided fresh perspectives.
With their large numbers, the reporters on the ground were themselves newsmakers. There were tens of cameras reeling and recording everywhere; photographers bending in awkward positions to capture the best shots; broadcast journalists scrambling for news and taking actualities and others getting smart with their smart phones.
World Press Freedom Day is not just about these journalists. It pays tribute to those who are unable to take part in the event, like Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize winner, who has been in jail since 2013. And we remember the journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty, including the nine journalists who lost their lives in Afghanistan just days before the commemoration.
The curtain is drawn in Accra and will be opened once more elsewhere. Until then, UNESCO continues calling for the construction of national mechanisms for the safety of journalists.