World Press Freedom Day is commemorated on 3 May annually to emphasise the fundamental principles of press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on its independence, to evaluate the state of press freedom across the globe and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty and continue to brave unsafe digital and physical spaces for the sake of the truth.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has identified this year’s theme as “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”. This theme could not be more apt as numerous democracies, including South Africa, gear up for election season. For the majority of voters across the world, the press remains the sole source of information about the political parties contesting elections. From the individuals seeking election, to the manifestos of the parties, containing promises and assurances in exchange for votes come polling day. The discerning and privileged voter has the tools by which to analyse the information available and make informed decisions.