Well, today, Friday 3, May happens to be the World Press Freedom Day. The day was set aside by the United Nations Nations Assembly to ‘raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.’
To celebrate the growth and setbacks encountered by the press while trying to express free speech and their positive impact to society, some key media houses such as the New York Times are lifting their paywalls to ensure readers access their stories for free. A paywall, for those who may not be aware, is a restrictive system that bars non-paying users from accessing content on a site. Popular news websites such as the aforementioned NYT, the Wallstreet Journal and the Financial Times (FT) that did not adjust well to the offerings, as well as the setbacks of the dot com boom, were forced to avail their content on the Web amidst dipping revenues in print. The paywall ensures that they, at least theoretically, stay afloat and keep their talent motivated.
To this end, the NYT will lift the paywall over the weekend to commemorate the Press Day celebrations. This development effectively makes this good time to catch up on stories that could not be read by non-paying NYT readers, among other sites that use the same arrangement and are willing to do so.
There are additional reasons the NYT is lifting the paywall, so you can find more about them because you actually can, obviously.