The World Press Freedom Day is celebrated to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. Mahatma Gandhi rightly said “Liberty of speech means that it is unassailed even when the speech hurts; Liberty of Press can be said to be truly respected when the Press can comment in the severest terms upon and even misrepresent matters.” World Press Freedom Day is an occasion for acknowledging the role and relevance of free media in our society. The ability to write and speak freely is a privilege not many countries enjoy, even today. Under international law, the right to freedom of expression also protects speech that some may find shocking, offensive or disturbing. Importantly, the right to freedom of expression means that those who feel offended also have the right to challenge others through free debate and open discussion, or through peaceful protest. Let us promote a safe and enabling environment for those who exercise their right to freedom of expression, especially for journalists and artists who perform their work without interference.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)