2022 Theme: Journalism under digital siege
This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme “Journalism under digital siege,” spotlights the multiple ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists, and the consequences of all this on public trust in digital communications.
The latest UNESCO World Trends Report Insights discussion paper “Threats that Silence: Trends in the Safety of Journalists,” highlights how surveillance and hacking are compromising journalism. Surveillance can expose information gathered by journalists including from whistle-blowers, and violates the principle of source protection, which is universally considered a prerequisite for freedom of the media and is enshrined in UN Resolutions. Surveillance may also harm the safety of journalists by disclosing sensitive private information, which could be used for arbitrary judicial harassment or attack.
There is a growing global push encouraging more transparency regarding how Internet companies exploit citizens’ data; how that data informs predictive models and artificial intelligence, and enables amplification of disinformation and hatred. This was underlined in thecall for technology companies to “work to ensure transparency in relation to their human and automated systems.”