It's indeed a matter of deep concern that India has been ranked 140 in the list of 180 countries in the world with press freedom as per a recent annual report World Press Freedom Index by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders - RSF.
World Press Freedom Day - WPFD observed on 3 May every year was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993 as a day "to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession." The theme for 2014 celebrations is "Media freedom for a Better Future."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova message for this year goes as "Journalism provides a platform for informed discussion across a wide range of development issues - from environmental challenges and scientific progress to gender equality, youth engagement and peace building. Only when journalists are at liberty to monitor, investigate and criticize policies and actions can good governance exist."
To mark the occasion 03 May 2014, Prof BR Natarajan President - Vice Chancellor shared with the students and faculty of Sangam University Bhilwara the following special messages received from various journalists who have been championing the cause of press freedom.
Well known alumnus of Birla Institute of Technology and science - BITS Pilani and Brown University USA and author of several books and journalist Dilip D'Souza in his message said "There is no freedom without press freedom."
Kashif Ul-Huda editor of twocircles.net who has been championing human rights and media freedom in his message said "Media can be truly free only when it is free from corporate and political interests. I ask readers and viewers to identify and support their local and non-profit media."
Alladi Jayasri Alladi freelance journalist for whom writing is a mission with passion in her message said "Where the Press is free and every man able to read, all is safe according to Thomas Jefferson. Today is a good day to reflect on this freedom. On how difficult it has become to protect this freedom everywhere. On how, sometimes, it is oppression, and sometimes it is restraints, that keep journalists from their jobs. Most journalists try to live by the ethics of their profession, and there may be a few who not do so. But then, we can only take heart from the words of French writer Benjamin Constant - With newspapers, there is sometimes disorder; without them, there is always slavery."
Beena Sarwar Journalist, artist, documentary filmmaker currently working with Jang Group (Pakistan) / Aman ki Asha (Joint initiative of Times of India) in her message called the efforts of Sangam University in spreading awareness about Press freedom as a Good Move and advised to keep up the good work.
Since the media landscape has undoubtedly changed beyond recognition in the last two decades with the power unleashed by the internet, popularity of wikis and blogs as well as the mind boggling social networking such as Twitter and Facebook, Prof Natarajan urged the GenNext to take up the challenge of filling up the fast emerging generation gap between mainstream and new media journalism.