In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3rd May to be World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), a day which, among other objectives, serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.
According to UNESCO figures, since 2008 a total of 26 Iraqi media workers have been killed, the most recent of which was just weeks ago in Tikrit.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) currently ranks Iraq as worst in the world in its Impunity Index for the fifth consecutive year, with not a single case brought to justice.
Meanwhile, Iraq pushes ahead with new laws that have the potential to further stifle freedom of expression.
This is a concern not just from a social perspective, but also from a business perspective; the United Nations cites a correlation between press freedom and economic development, and says, “a free press is not a luxury that can wait until better times; rather, it is part of the very process through which those better times are achieved“.
So on this World Press Freedom Day, we remind ourselves of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“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.“