World Press Freedom Day 2011

Congressional-Executive Commission on China |

World Press Freedom Day 2011

May 3, 2011

(Washington, DC)—In 1993, the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day. The Day has its origins in official statements and Resolutions of the UN General Assembly and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference, including those listed below. These statements and Resolutions describe international obligations of UN and UNESCO Member States, including China, relating to press freedom:

The General Assembly,…Urges that all countries, organizations of the United Nations system as a whole and all others concerned…should:…Ensure for journalists the free and effective performance of their professional tasks and condemn resolutely all attacks against them….

- UN General Assembly Resolutions A/RES/47/73 (14 December 1992) and A/RES/45/76 (11 December 1990)

…Recognizing that a free, pluralistic and independent press is an essential component of any democratic society,….

- UN Economic and Social Council Documents E/1993/L.30 (20 July 1993) and E/1993/58 (30 April 1993), to which is Annexed UNESCO General Conference 26 C / Resolution 4.3 (6 November 1991)

…it is incumbent upon UNESCO and its Member States to assist in...facilitating and guaranteeing for journalists the freedom to report and the fullest possible access to information.

- UNESCO General Conference 25 C / Resolution 104 (15 November 1989)

1. Consistent with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development. 2. By an independent press, we mean a press independent from governmental, political or economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals. 3. By a pluralistic press, we mean the end of monopolies of any kind and the existence of the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the community.

- Declaration of Windhoek (3 May 1991), Endorsed by the UNESCO General Conference

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

- Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948)

The CECC monitors press freedom in China and the Chinese government's compliance with international human rights standards for freedom of expression, including those mentioned above. A selection of recent CECC reports is listed below.

Chinese Police Officials Detain Beijing Artist and Rights Advocate Ai Weiwei (4/12/11) Uyghur Webmaster Receives Seven-Year Sentence (3/31/11) Authorities Reportedly Beat, Detain, and Threaten Foreign Journalists Covering "Jasmine Revolution" (3/22/11) Authorities Censor Access to Information on Middle East and Chinese "Jasmine" Protests (3/22/11) New Information on Sentences Emerges as Official Information on Xinjiang Trials Remains Limited (1/20/11) Xinhua Article Claims Liu Xiaobo Case Meets International Standards (12/9/10) Premier Wen Jiabao Calls Freedom of Speech "Indispensable," Comments Reportedly Censored (11/9/10) Harassment of Journalists Sparks Outcry in Chinese Press (11/1/10) Communist Party Seeks To Restrict Already Limited Critical Media Reports (10/18/10) Xinjiang Court Imposes Prison Sentences on Uyghur Journalist and Webmasters (8/7/10) Government Appears To Crack Down on Microblogs and Blogs (8/6/10) Government White Paper on Internet Claims Free Speech Protected (6/25/10)

For additional information, see the CECC's 2010 Annual Report section on Freedom of Expression in China.