World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, and is observed 3 May every year.
The aim of World Press Freedom Day is “to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, and recognize new initiatives that enhance press freedom.
The Cayman Islands recognizes and celebrates this day as it provides an opportunity for the government and public to reflect on the universal right to freedom of expression, to reaffirm our commitment to press freedom and to discuss the important role the media plays in society. The media in Cayman have been instrumental in raising public awareness of these important issues.
Our Freedom of Information Law is expected to be passed this year and is a new initiative in favour of press freedom.
The introduction of this law will enhance media access to information and play a key role in facilitating the public’s right to know.
The right to know is vital if citizens are to participate and make informed choices, as they must have access to political, cultural, social, scientific and economic information. Freedom, prosperity and the development of society depend on education and the right to seek and receive information, new ideas and knowledge.
The media provide us with our daily news, they critique society’s values, seek to change attitudes, bring to light untold stories and point the spotlight on national and local policies.
More importantly a free press plays a crucial role in ensuring the deepening of our democracy.
Today we should recognize the work of the media and the special role they play in our society in ensuring transparency in the conduct of public affairs and the safeguarding of human rights. The responsibility of the media is considerable, especially taking account of the public’s desire for, and right to, truthful, accurate, objective and impartial reporting.
The Government’s decision in promulgating the new Freedom of Information Law, will take us a far way in ensuring that journalists can continue to provide us with the essential knowledge and information that flow from a free and independent press in the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Kurt Tibbetts – Leader of Government Business