Call for Sessions Proposals and Pre-registration for World Press Freedom Day Conference 2020

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific,  and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are inviting stakeholders from across the world who are active in the fields of journalism, media development and freedom of expression, including freedom of artistic expression, to submit proposals for sessions for the 27th edition of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) Conference scheduled to hold in The Hague from April 22 to 24, 2020.

They are also calling on interested persons to pre-register for the even before March 6, 2020.

Focused on celebrating independent journalism and standing up against media capture, this year’s conference theme is “Journalism without Fear or Favour.”

Proposal can be submitted by civil society organizations, intergovernmental organizations, media, private sector, Internet intermediaries, policy and public affairs institutes, and universities and other knowledge institutions. UNESCO also particularly encourages joint proposals.

Proposals should be submitted online at

Eligible proposals welcome by the organisers are those that are innovative and engaging and that support the main aim of the conference: to ensure that journalists can work free and independently, now and in the future. Key words are multi-stakeholder engagement, being forward-looking and action-oriented, sharing experiences, peer-learning, youth participation, diversity, opinion and debate, and coalition building.

The conference, taking place within the context of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in The Hague, international city of peace and justice, will feature high-level speakers from the media, civil society, the arts, the political sphere and the judiciary.

The first two days, April 22 and 23, will be dedicated to debate and exchange in the form of plenary debates and breakout sessions while the “Festival Day”, April 24, will encourage creative explorations of the theme, including workshops, performances, film screenings, mentoring sessions and other formats.

The Conference will also feature the annual WPFD Academic Conference on the Safety of Journalists and a Youth Newsroom, which will involve media students from all over the world covering the event live. One of the highlights of the event will be the award ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2020, which recognizes a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom.

Selection of proposals will be based on a number of criteria including overall relevance to the conference theme and goals; choice of proposed speakers and moderators; innovative format; diversity, and youth participation.

UNESCO and the Government of the Netherlands, as Conference organizers, will actively engage with the organizers of sessions, for instance on format, (Dutch) speakers, possible collaborations, etc.

The deadline for submitting session proposals is January 10, 2020, while that for pre-registering for the Conference is March 6, 2020.

National events to celebrate World Press Freedom Day will be organized around the world on or around May 3.