Today, 3 May 2023 is celebrated as the 30th World Press Freedom Day. "Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other human rights", is the theme set by UNESCO for this year. World Press Freedom Day is a reminder to respect the efforts of the media in guarding democracy.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres in his message for this year's World Press Freedom Day said, freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democracy and justice. The press presents existing facts to form opinions and tell the truth to power. Like this year's theme, press freedom represents the lifeblood of human rights.
In Indonesia, this year press freedom is prioritized. This can be seen from the theme that was carried out at the commemoration of National Press Day last February, namely "Press Freedom, Democracy with Dignity". It is very important to continue to promote press freedom in Indonesia. Especially when you look at the results of the 2022 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders, Indonesia is in 117th position out of 180 countries. More importantly, currently Indonesia has started to face preparations for holding the 2024 General Election.
As it became commonplace, as the general election approached, news about political party activities, presidential and vice presidential candidates as well as council member candidates became the main content of the mass media. It cannot be denied either, that several mass media in Indonesia are owned by several party figures. So that the freedom of members of the press to present the truth is highly expected because it really needs to be questioned regarding the owner's ideology.
Even though more and more information is conveyed through social media, which is sometimes believed to be true information, it cannot be denied that the mass media, especially the mainstream, are still a trusted source for the public. For the successful implementation of elections, the public must receive accurate and balanced information. Thus, when the time comes, they don't make wrong choice. Therefore, press freedom must be maintained and strengthened ahead of the 2024 elections.
It is hoped that the freedom possessed by members of the press will be used responsibly. Support for members of the press to work without threats and attacks, to stop lies and disinformation and not participate in spreading it, must be further strengthened. Thus, a dignified democracy in Indonesia can be realized. To quote Antonio Guterres, “when journalists stand up for the truth, the world supports them”.
Happy World Press Freedom Day 2023.