2023 Media Freedom Day Breakfast highlights media freedom as driver of all human rights

UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Howard
UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Howard
Participants at the 2023 World Press Freedom Day Breakfast event in Port Moresby on May 3rd.
Participants at the 2023 World Press Freedom Day Breakfast event in Port Moresby on May 3rd.

A 2023 World Press Freedom Day Breakfast event hosted by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea and the Media Council of Papua New Guinea, and supported by ABC International Development, has highlighted the important role media freedom carries as the main driver of all other basic human rights.

Papua New Guinea UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Howard, told the gathering of media organization representatives, media stakeholders and supporters in Port Moresby on Wednesday, that the theme for World Press Freedom Day, "Shaping the future with Rights", reaffirms freedom of expression as a 'driver for the progress of humanity'.

He said around the world, media freedoms continue to be eroded by stealth, and journalists are frequently intimidated. For this reason, he said World Press Freedom Day is also a time to reflect and pay tribute to the 430 journalists globally who were silenced by death or imprisonment in 2022.

Mr. Howard said a journalist's focus is to publicise the truth by reporting without fear or favour in an open environment; and journalists who 'embrace a Code of Ethics' are more likely to fulfill their obligations to serve the nation as honest brokers of the truth, for the people.

Mr. Howard commended media outlets for what he described as the 'extraordinary volume of accurate news they publish over the course of every year.

"It is even more important in the digital age because people must be able to trust the media to counter misinformation often dressed up as fact on social media platforms," Mr. Howard said.

He also spotlighted the need for more discussion about the standard of training journalists receive, as well as address the ongoing problem of low wages and poor work conditions. He said these issues have resulted in many experienced journalists leaving the industry for communications positions in other sectors.

Media Council of PNG President, Neville Choi, also spoke at the breakfast event, where he highlighted the work the Council was doing as part of its reform agenda – which has as its core priority tasks, the review of the industry code of ethics, membership structure, and reconstituting of its Media Complaints Tribunal mechanism, and the staging of its Annual General Meeting for this year. Read a full transcript of Mr. Choi's address here.