Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3 - World Press Freedom Day

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3rd to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press, and to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

In 1997, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was created to honour a deserving individual, organization, or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. The prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist whose writings had offended Columbia's powerful drug barons; he was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador in Bogota on December 17, 1986.

Guillermo Cano Isaza 

World Press Freedom Day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended, and closed down, while journalists, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained, and even murdered. World Press Freedom Day is a day to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.

Learn more about this year's themes and events here:

Today is also Garden Mediation Day, Hug Your Cat Day, Lumpy Rug Day, National Two Different Coloured Shoes Day, No Pants Day, Public Radio Day, and Tuba Day!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- Jamaica was discovered by Columbus in 1494; he named it "St Iago".
- The Constitution of May 3 (the first modern constitution in Europe) was proclaimed by the Sejm of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1791.
- Francisco Goya's painting, "Executions of Third of May 1808".

- The University of Athens was founded in 1837.
- An explosion and fire at a Nanaimo, BC coal mine killed 150 men in 1887, the worst mining disaster in BC history.
- Johan "John" Helders, one of Canada's leading fine-art photographers of his time, was born in Rhenen, Netherlands in 1888.
- John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario, wrote the famous poem In Flanders Fields in 1915. It was composed in 20 minutes at Ypres and first published in December 1915 in the English magazine Punch.

- Léopold Simoneau, tenor, teacher, administrator, widely regarded as the most elegant Mozart tenor of his time, noted for his clear and precise tone, was born in St-Flavien in 1916.
- Prince Edward Island women won the rights to vote and to hold provincial office in 1922.
- New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio made his major-league debut in 1936, getting 3 hits.
- Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for "Gone With the Wind" in 1937.

- Upton Sinclaire won a Pulitzer prize for Dragon's Teeth in 1943.
- London's Royal Festival Hall opened in 1951.
- The Anne Frank House opened in Amsterdam in 1960.
- Margaret Thatcher became the 1st female Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1979.

- The sport of geocaching began in 2000, with the first cache placed and the coordinates from a GPS posted on Usenet.
- The United States lost its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2001, for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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