The day was first celebrated on September 15, 2008, after the UN General Assembly passed a resolution to set up the day in 2007. The goal of the day was to promote and uphold the principles of democracy everywhere and to invite member states and other organisations to celebrate the day to raise public awareness.
The United Nations has called democracy “as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.”
Protecting Press Freedom
This year, the International Day of Democracy will focus on the importance of press freedom to democracy, peace, and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. According to UNESCO, 85 per cent of the world’s population experienced a decline in press freedom in their country in the past five years.
Media are also facing attacks, both offline and online, and journalists are being silenced. UNESCO reported that from 2016 to 2021, 455 journalists died because of their job or while working. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has recently stated: “Free, independent, and pluralistic media, able to keep the public informed on matters of public interest, is a key ingredient to democracy. It enables the public to make informed decisions and hold governments to account. When media freedoms are under threat - the flow of information can be stifled, skewed, or cut off entirely. Increasingly, journalists around the world face limits to their ability to operate freely – with a grave impact on human rights, democracy, and development.”
Here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, we fully support press freedom both offline and online. Children and youth should also be informed about online dangers and press freedom and should be taught how to recognise fake news.
If you are interested in exploring the topic further, you can find below just a handful of useful pedagogical resources designed by the Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) which are accessible in the BIK resource gallery:
- Learn how to correctly discuss online information about war and emergency situations, and navigate through misinformation and fake news, with children and young people in a suitable way in this article on child-appropriate news and background information.
- Read more about the June 2021 training meeting of the Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs). One of the focus topics of discussion was fake news, misinformation, and disinformation. The event is an opportunity to help sharing of experience and good practices between network countries, and to explore areas of common ground and collaboration.
- Digital empowerment and active participation are at the heart of the BIK+ strategy. Read more about it in the article that introduces the strategy.