World Press Freedom Day Lesson Plan

Share the importance of an independent press with your students this week. Themes include the relation of a free press to democracy, and the sacrifices journalists make to tell the truth. Includes discussion guide and learning outcome.


The World Press Freedom Day lesson plan was created by MY HERO Arts Education and Gallery director Victoria Murphy. 


Lesson Plan Description

Students watch short films and read a story related to World Press Freedom Day.

Students then answer the following discussion questions, either in class or as a separate writing assignment.

Learn about Democracy, Citizenship and the Press

The Art of Life: Dan Eldon in Africa

Produced by:Charles Tsai
A moving film about Dan Eldon, an artist, photojournalist and humanitarian who was killed on assignment in 1993 when he was only 22 years old.

Daniel Pearl

By: Geeta Malik and Kathy Crockett

Daniel Pearl was a Wall Street Journal reporter who reported the news with courage, integrity, and intelligence. He was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan while on assignment.

Brian Lamb - A Hero for Maintaining Democracy

Producer: McKenna Young
Brian Lamb, the hero behind C-SPAN.

Robert Shetterly

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

Robert Shetterly created his portrait project Americans Who Tell the Truth to celebrate those individuals, including journalists and whistleblowers, who are courageous in their words and deeds.

May 3 was designated World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations General Assembly, as part of the Declaration of Human Rights.  

2019 Theme

This year's theme for World Press Freedom Day is MEDIA FOR DEMOCRACY: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation. The theme raises awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and the duty of governments to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

The 2019 theme also raises awareness of the current challenges faced by the media in times of elections and the growing prevalence of disinformation, as well as media’s potential to support democracy, peace and reconciliation.


1. What are the critical, and sometimes dangerous, issues facing journalists today as they seek to report the truth from countries around the world? 

2. How does news reporting remain objective and truthful at the same time? 

3. How do stories, films and art help citizens be informed about their government and its policies? How can student journalists frame their articles and editorials to best reflect the truth?


Reporting the news today is more complicated than ever before. The proliferation of 24/7 news and the role of social media make the job of journalists more demanding and more ethically challenging. Considering the heroes represented in the films and stories above can provide role models and guidelines for future journalists.


Teachers: Want more? Visit more curated multi-media content in observance of World Press Freedom Day.


Use the MY HERO Calendar in the classroom to share a new hero 365 days a year.

Organizer created on 4/10/2019 3:34:42 PM by MY HERO Staff

Last edited 11/7/2019 2:33:55 PM by Laura Nietzer