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USA Consulate marks World Press Freedom Day

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh

United States of America (USA) has reiterated its commitment to advocating for press freedom, freedom of information and access to factual and accurate reporting provided by independent media which is foundational to transpar- ency and accountability in any democratic society.

To this end, the U.S. Consulate General in collaboration with Media Career Development Network will mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day with multiple events from May 10 to May 27.

Activities will begin on May 10 with a screening and panel discussion on the documentary “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” at the Ikeja American Corner. In a similar fashion, the documentary will be screened on May 19 to a wide audience in Port Harcourt.

The “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” documentary highlights how the remarkable man behind the prestigious Pulitzer Prizes became one of America’s most admired newspaper publishers and a crusader for freedom of the press.

On May 17, reporters and editors will participate in a fact-checking workshop that will help build their capacity, deepen their professional knowledge and equip them with skills to conduct investigations, identify reliable sources, and fact-check information.

Participants will also discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities for the local media to play a greater role in helping the public identify misinformation and disinformation campaigns.

On May 24, there will be a press freedom panel discussion on the theme: “Journalism under Digital Siege: The digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy.”

The theme of the panel discus- sion underscores the increasing role of technology, which can be used not only to disseminate information more quickly and farther than ever before but also for spreading disinformation and misinformation.

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The month-long press freedom activities will end on May 27 with a reception in honor of journalists working to fight corruption, holding the government accountable, and calling out abuse and injustice, often at great personal risk. Speaking on the activities to commemorate the 29th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli noted that the events will provide an opportunity for journalists to discuss the state of press freedom, protection of journalists, and citizens’ rights to unbiased, accurate information.

“The United States considers a free press to be a foundation of democratic governance. We believe a free press must be fostered to keep citizens properly informed and actively engaged in the issues that affect them in order to hold government and other institutions accountable to the public,” Ibelli added.

Reporters, editors, students and faculty members from journalism schools as well as representatives from media development organizations interested in attending any of the events are encouraged to register using this link: https:// bit.ly/2022WPFD

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