World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as an encouragement to the independence of journalists and the media, to be celebrated each 3 May. The overall theme proposed for this year is " Critical Minds for Critical Times: The Media's role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies."
The Association of World Citizens has always stressed the need for an independent media as an important avenue for the creation of a cosmopolitan, humanist world society. Many of the great changes in the world society have been promoted by publications of books and newspapers - the Protestant Reformation, and the American and French Revolutions.Today, we see the great ideological wave of world citizenship as the core of a new world philosophy. Thus, world citizens have a strong commitment to freedom of expression through both public assemblies and through a free press.
Today, after decades of conflict when the emphasis of State leaders and the media they controlled was upon competition, conflict, and individual enrichment, world citizens place an emphasis on harmony, cooperation, mutual respect, and working for the welfare of the community. We know that there are an increasing number of people who realize that harmony is the key to our ascent to the next higher level of evolutioin: harmony between intellect and heart, mind and body, male and female, being and doing. We are fortunate to be able to participate in this crucial moment in world history when there is a passage of consciousness focused on the individual State to a consciousness focused on the unity of humanity and a new relationship of respect for Nature.
What is needed is a vision which inspires us to come together across over different points of view to create a process of healing and social transformation.
We are well aware that the media and the new digital technology and social media can be used for negative currents of hatred, racism, and narrow nationalism. Media can also be used to spread rumours or false information. Moreover, in a large number of countries, the media is under the control of the government or a small number of financial interests.
However, there is also a strong tradition of investigative journalism which has highlighted political and economic corruption.
Only a well-informed population can take its destiny in hand. We know that the problems confronting humanity are daunting in their depth and complexity. Yet we also know that the human spirit is endowed with the ability to transform even the most difficult challenges through cooperation for positive change. Today, we move into the New Age of cooperation and spiritual growth.
* Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens