Source: FrontPageAfrica
Monrovia — FrontPageAfrica's Newsroom Chief Wade Williams will form part of a panel discussion on Media freedom at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in observance of this year's World Press Freedom which will be celebrated on May 3rd.

The briefing, which will be moderated by Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications & Public Information, is hosted by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) in cooperation with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Other Panelists include Maher Nasser (Moderator), Director of Outreach Division at Department of Public Information; Yehia Ghanem, International Journalist in Residence at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism; Delfine Halgand, US Representative for Reporters without Borders and Agnes Callamard, Director at Freedom of Expression and Information Project.

The briefing which will take place on May 1st, 2014, will be held at UN Headquarters in New York under the theme: 'Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda.' The briefing will be webcast live at Viewers will be allowed to post questions and comments during the session on Facebook (UNDPINGO) or Twitter (#DPINGO @UNDPINGO #WPFD).

Wade was awarded Liberian Journalist of the Year in 2013 as well as the German Development Media Award for Africa. In 2012 she was a recipient of the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold fellowship, becoming one of four international journalists chosen to spend three months in New York City covering the United Nations and the 2012 UN General Assembly.

In that role she broke stories with dramatic repercussions in Liberia and again received death threats, this time for her reporting on the UN's criticism of Liberian government efforts to end female genital cutting by traditional societies.

In 2012 she received the national awards for human rights and political affairs reporting, joining only a handful of women who have won national reporting awards in Liberia. She has been chosen to accompany the President and government ministers on trips to West African neighbors and the World Bank Forum in Washington D.C.

Wade holds a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from the United Methodist University. As a student, Wade pioneered the first student newsletter, Inside UMU, and graduated magna cum laude. Wade is the second FrontPageAfrica staff to serve on a UN panel. In 2009, Publisher Rodney Sieh served as a panelist at a United Nations Peacebuilding panel.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to: celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The focus this year is on three inter-related themes: the media's importance in development; the safety of journalists and the rule of law; and the sustainability and integrity of journalism. An international conference will be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 5-6 May. According to UNESCO, World Press Freedom Day is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favor of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide".

A UNESCO briefing statement previewing this years' festivities states that the day "serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, it is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the exercise of their profession."

The UNESCO statement continues: "Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated," emphasized a UN resolution adopted by the General Assembly on December 14th 1946.

The resolution further adds that "Freedom of information implies the right to gather, transmit and publish news anywhere and everywhere without fetters. As such, it is an essential factor in any serious effort to promote the peace and progress of the world."

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