Mark World Press Freedom Day with news literacy resources
Today marks 30 years since the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed World Press Freedom Day to commemorate the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles issued in 1991 by African journalists.
On the 30th anniversary of the designation, the U.N. is calling out threats to press freedoms around the world, including the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation, and underscoring the foundational right of free speech for all. “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,” according to the U.N.
But violence and intimidation directed at journalists continue to threaten their ability to do this important work. In March Russia arrested Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and detained him on false charges of espionage. The nonprofit organization Reporters Without Borders (also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF) monitors press freedoms in 190 nations and regions. Each year it releases its press freedom index, and this year the United States fell to 45th place, down three spots from 2022.
Every year, World Press Freedom Day serves as a reminder for governments to respect their commitment to press freedom, a time of reflection for journalists and other media professionals, and an opportunity for the public to recognize the impact these freedoms on their lives.
Press freedom and news literacy
And an understanding of press freedom is essential to news literacy. To mark the day, NLP is sharing a suite of free resources for educators and the public to enhance the appreciation of press freedoms and free speech and to highlight the need for continued vigilance to protect these rights.
- Explore the Checkology® virtual classroom lessons “Press Freedoms Around the World”and “The First Amendment” as well as these related lessons: “Democracy’s Watchdog,” and “Citizen Watchdogs.”
- Test your students’ knowledge with this Checkology challenge: Know your rights: What freedoms does the First Amendment protect?
- Download this poster about the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
- Discuss recent items from The Sift® newsletter for educators, including, Russia’s arrest and detainment of Wall Street Journal reporter Even Gershkovich.
- An explore Dig Deeper classroom material: What press freedom challenges do journalists face around the world?, the 2022 World Press Freedom Index: What are the effects of news and information chaos? and Two journalists win the Nobel Peace Prize. Why is this significant?
- Test your knowledge with our quiz, So, what’s the First Amendment?
- Check out the results of a survey of Americans’ knowledge of and appreciation for the First Amendment.
- Learn about the United States’ ranking in the World Press Freedom Index. It might surprise you!
- On May 3, proclaim your support for freedom of speech on social media by sharing @newslitproject posts or writing your own posts and using #PressFreedom and #WPFD2023 hashtags.