World Press Freedom Day

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, a day to celebrate freedom of the press and freedom of expression as fundamental human rights. Many journalists brave death or face jail time, even in Canada, to bring news to the public.

Public libraries everywhere uphold the value of intellectual freedom as the basis of an informed, democratic society by providing universal access to knowledge, ideas and opinions. In our collections and programs, you’ll find perspectives and opinions as diverse as the city and world we live in.

To mark World Press Freedom Day, we’ve compiled a list of recommended books and videos about journalists who were killed or imprisoned while trying to report on current events, as well as a short list of relevant websites:


Darling  I'm going to Charlie Then they came for me A family’s story of love  captivity and survival The man in blue pyjamas 1000 lashes Because I say what I think A Russian diary 


Burma VJ Reporting from a closed country Rosewater  A mighty heart

Award-winning Egyptian-Canadian journalist and author, Mohamed Fahmy, was the Egypt bureau chief of Al Jazeera International when he was arrested in 2013. The Egyptian government charged Fahmy with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood and fabricating news to serve the fundamentalist group’s agenda. He was incarcerated in a maximum security jail for more than 400 days —including a month in solitary—alongside ISIS and other terrorists.

Fahmy’s unjust imprisonment unleashed an international outcry for his release from human rights groups and press freedom organizations to the United Nations, the European Union and President Barack Obama. In 2015, Fahmy was pardoned by the Egyptian government and he regained his freedom.

Fahmy appeared at the Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library shortly after his release.



Amnesty International

Reporters Without Borders

International Freedom of Expression Exchange

All of us at Toronto Public Library are ardent supporters of #PressFreedom and are deeply appreciative of the media's role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.