World Press Freedom Conference 2020

UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands wish to announce that the World Press Freedom Conference 2020 (WPFC 2020) will take place on 9 and 10 December 2020 in a new, innovative format, merging digital and in-person elements.

This WPFC will jointly celebrate World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (2 November). The conference, co-hosted by UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands was originally planned for 22 to 24 April 2020. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, WPFC was later postponed to October 2020 but had to be rescheduled once more. 

Especially now, in times of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a free press is essential in helping us cope, understand and overcome the crisis. This makes it all the more necessary to come together on 9 and 10 December to stand up for a free, independent press and the safety of journalists, according to the WPFC organisers.

Journalism without Fear or Favour

The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour‘, a phrase coined by Adolph S. Ochs, founder of the modern New York Times. WPFC seeks to promote the idea that we need to stand up for a free, safe and independent media and protect journalism from new and existing forms of unwanted control, pressure and influence.

In addition, with more than 1,100 journalists killed in the world from 2006 to 2019 according to UNESCO, and only one case out of ten judicially solved, the level of impunity for crimes against journalists remains terribly high. This imposes a climate of fear in many parts of the world, which is ultimately detrimental to the free circulation of ideas and opinions by both the media and citizens at large.

With the independence, safety and freedom of the media under attack in so many countries, and with the COVID-19 pandemic revealing once again just how important a free, safe and independent media is, it this is now more relevant than ever to stand up for these issues.

Global digital conference

This year’s conference aims to digitally bring together the professional community of journalists, media companies, human rights defenders, members of the judiciary (including judges, lawyers and prosecutors) policymakers, academics and NGOs, and to connect them to a large global audience that can actively participate online.

WPFC 2020 will be a highly interactive and participatory conference, merging digital and in-person elements. With livestreamed interactive sessions, keynote speeches and performances, people all over the world will be able to participate at times most convenient for them. Sessions will be broadcast from the World Forum in The Hague and multiple other locations around the world.

Meeting and networking

WPFC 2020 will seek to ensure the highest quality and variety in sessions, ranging from debates and live talk shows to presentations and interactive panel discussions. Participants will interact and discuss the latest issues in live sessions and connect through video chats and other virtual meeting points. On top of this, participants will also be able to explore a wide range of other content, including online exhibitions, film viewings and videos.

Check the website en.unesco.org/wpfd regularly for all updates, programme details, speakers and other news. Also follow WPFC on social media: