58 countries stand up for press freedom at conference in The Hague

On Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 December, ministers from 58 countries will take part in an international conference on press freedom, at the invitation of  minister Blok. This year’s World Press Freedom Conference will take place on a digital platform. The event is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and UNESCO.

This is the first time in the history of the World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC) that a session is being held for ministers. On Wednesday they will discuss such topics as how to more effectively tackle violence against journalists, camera crews, photographers and media technicians. The 58 participating countries (list attached) will confirm the agreements they reach in a final declaration.

Minister Blok: ‘Time for action’

According to foreign minister Blok, ‘Journalists around the world need to be better protected so that they can fulfil their role as watchdogs of democracy. Countries that have already made pledges but still violate press freedom must be held to account. We already have all the tools and standards we need. Now it’s time for action. That’s what the 58 countries taking part will forcefully advocate.’

New forum

This year the Netherlands will also introduce a forum for judges, prosecutors, lawyers, legal experts and institutions, which will become an annual feature at the WPFC. The forum’s aim is to exchange practical experiences with protecting freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. This Forum of Legal Actors is a joint initiative with UNESCO, Free Press Unlimited and the Asser Institute for International and European Law.


Several thousand participants will attend the conference in a virtual conference room using the digital platform. Four studios have been set up in the World Forum in The Hague to host around twenty sessions in the form of talk shows and other journalistic formats with well-known speakers from around the world, including Christiane Amanpour, Amal Clooney and Hatice Cengiz, widow of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

For more information on the programme and speakers, see the conference website and the digital platform.