World Press Freedom Day 2020 sees Covid-19 add further challenges to media

World Press Freedom Day 2020 sees Covid-19 add further challenges to media

World Press Freedom Day 2020, May 3rd, was used as an opportunity to highlight cases where the free flow of news and information is restricted. It was also used to focus on the essential role of media and journalists to cut through disinformation and deliver fact-based news reporting and analysis.

This year’s event was more resonant in these times of Covid-19, where virus controls are being used to further restrict media. The International Press Institute is tracking violations of free media (see tracker below) and we have seen many instances around the world of barriers to reporting and attacks on journalists.

Closer to home, we’re seeing journalists impacted by job losses, wage reductions, and constrained working conditions among other challenges. The International Federation of Journalists released a report last week based on a survey of journalists around the world that stated working conditions have deteriorated. Read it here: Exposed: The crisis facing journalism in the face of Covid-19.

While we track changes to domestic news in Ireland and in global media, and the impacts of Covid-19 on the media market, here’s a roundup of key World Press Freedom Day 2020 reports.


World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) in 1993 and this year UN Secretary General António Guterres emphasised the need for fact-based news and analysis as an antidote to the prevalence of disinformation.

Press freedom critical to countering COVID-19 ‘pandemic of misinformation’: UN chief


The European Union’s diplomatic European External Action Service (EEAS) shone a light on the silencing of journalists and asked the question: ‘What if there was no journalism?’.

World Press Freedom Day: an opportunity for everyone to speak up against the silencing of journalists


The International Press Institute issued a report on press freedoms to coincide with World Press Freedom Day 2020, stating that the coronavirus pandemic is being used by governments “to exercise control over the media on the pretext of preventing the spread of disinformation.”

See their global tracker of restrictions experienced by journalists: COVID-19: Number of Media Freedom Violations.


Finally, Reporters Without Borders have an excellent set of interviews in their #RSFTalks series on the subject of “Journalism in crisis: a decisive decade.”

Read here: World Press Freedom Day: Rana Ayyub, Edward Snowden and Joseph Stiglitz interviewed exclusively for RSF by Maria Ressa.