Jakarta — The World Press Freedom Day 2017 was closed with the unanimous adoption of Jakarta Declaration, which requires media to promote inclusive and peaceful societies.
“This document really represents what we say here in Jakarta, what we learnt, and what we want to take away with us,” UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Guy Berger said at the closing ceremony on May 4th, 2017.
The document was put together by a ‘committee of really imminent media people’, including Bambang Harimurti, Gwen Lister, Toby Mendel, Jonathan Bock, Constance Bommelaer, and Rana Sabbagh, of comments from many WPFD participants.
“These are really high profile, wise people from different regions in the world,” Berger said.
“But in the meantime, what I want you to do now is to adopt this not as a binding declaration but rarely as a summary record of the key points that came out of our conference.”
In the previous World Press Freedom Day celebration in Finland last year, the focus of the declaration was access to information.
“Access to information, diversity of cultural expression, and freedom of expression are building blocks for functioning democracies and diverse independent media,” Berger said.
UNESCO Assistant Director-General Communication and Information at Frank La Rue said there was a strong reason why Jakarta was selected to host this yearly event.
“When we thought about Jakarta, in Indonesia, we knew it was going to be a wonderful event as we have had in Helsinki, Finland, which was an excellent and fascinating event,” La Rue said.
“But Jakarta added for us special attraction which was the possibility of projecting the message to the whole region. Often times we feel that Paris is very far away and that we have to increase our communication and our presence in South East Asia, and this is the big opportunity.”
Rudiantara, Indonesia’s Minister of Communication and Information, said that Indonesia was very enthusiastic about hosting this year’s event.
“This celebration hold a special meaning in Indonesia, considering the democratization process that has begun since 1998,” Rudiantara said. “Through a series of heavy political and economical disturbances, regional armed violence, natural disasters, interracial and interreligion tension Indonesia has firmly embarked on path to become a democratic nation.”
He said that Indonesia has experienced first hand that press freedom plays a crucial role in the development of the nation in the last 17 years.
“Indonesia has gained many positive things from press freedom, in particular on how press can deliver criticism and provide rooms for various opinions that can be useful for both the government and the people,” he said.
“Those are the reason of why we’re very enthusiastic to host the 2017 World Press Freedom Day.”
Up until the last day of the ceremony, the host for the next year WPFD celebration is still a mystery.