The U.S. Department of State is gearing up for World Press Freedom Day 2011 (WPFD 2011). This is the first time that WPFD is being hosted in the United States. More than 100 speakers from 44 countries will join over 800 registered participants from 100 countries in this year's commemoration.
This year's events kick off with an Opening Ceremony on Sunday, May 1, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The next two days will be filled with panel discussions and speakers covering a wide range of topics including social media, censorship, and press freedom. On May 3, the events will close with a ceremony honoring UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize winner Ahmad Zeidabadi, a jailed Iranian journalist.
Additional WPFD Events are taking place throughout the world in places like Ethiopia, Cambodia, and Chile. In the United States, Temple University, my alma mater, is hosting an event in honor of World Press Freedom Day entitled Social Media and Press Freedom -- a webcast on April 25 that will include an international panel of scholars and journalists to discuss the impact of social media on press freedom worldwide. The discussions will cover benefits, challenges, and limitations of social media and press freedom. Panelists for the Temple event will include: Moustafa Ayad, an independent media consultant; Andy Carvin, who leads National Public Radio's social media strategy; and Ibrahim Saleh, a professor of journalism at the University of Cape Town South Africa. Susan Jacobson, a professor of Journalism at Temple, will moderate. The live webcast will run from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on April 25. Viewers are encouraged to tune in and participate in the panel discussion on the Internet here, or visit their World Press Freedom day Facebook page.
Other universities are joining the discussion as well. Journalism students at Georgetown University, the official university partner for the event, recently posted a YouTube video inviting students to create YouTube videos answering the question, "What does press freedom mean to you?" The best videos submitted will be featured on the World Press Freedom Day official website. Also, Georgetown University graduate students in journalism will serve as student reporters from WPFD 2011, providing social media updates about the event and lend their unique student perspective to the role of new media.
And we'd like to invite you to join the discussion as well, either at one of the links above, at the World Press Freedom Day 2011 Facebook page, or in the comments below. What does press freedom mean to you, and what ideas do you have to help promote it?