St. Maarten Prime Minister acknowledges important role of free media

POSTED: 05/5/11 12:11 PM

World Press Freedom Day

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Sint Maarten’s Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams recognizes the important role of a free press and that of the Sint Maarten media on World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated every year on May 3, worldwide.

May 3 is also the anniversary of the ‘Declaration of Windhoek.’  The aforementioned calls for free, independent, pluralistic media worldwide characterizing free press as essential to democracy and a fundamental human right.

The Declaration of Windhoek is a statement of free press principles as put together by newspaper journalists in Africa during a Unesco seminar on promoting an independent and pluralistic African press” in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1991.

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek.  Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “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 regardless of frontiers.”

World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“I would like to congratulate the Sint Maarten media on their day.  Government recognizes the importance of the media, in its ideal form being the fourth estate of our democratic system.  Undoubtedly, the media plays a very important role, if not the most important role in the general dissemination of information to any community,” the Prime Minister said.

 

“This role must be respected by all, community and media.  Let’s not underrate the importance of a vibrant and free press, like we enjoy on Sint Maarten. Congratulations to all involved in the media on this day, and congratulations to the Department of Communications for its work where it concerns the dissemination of information to the media as well as to the community via avenues such as television, print and internet.”

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