world press freedom day

Posted on May 3, 2007

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Today is World Press Freedom day, a celebration of the principles of press freedom – an essential to democracy and a fundamental human right.

Sadly, it’s also a sobering reminder that 2006 was the worst year on record for journalists – over 150 have lost their lives in the line of duty. Many others have been attacked, maimed, injured, kidnapped or harassed. UNESCO says that “being a journalist has never been more dangerous” as “over the past decade, we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of violence against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel.”

But now more than ever, as the number of conflicts and post-conflict zones seem to be ever increasing, we need journalists brave enough to deliver stories that will shed light on atrocities, bring about accountability and relay the truth to the world. Journalists who risk life and limb to do that deserve our respect and support.

More also has to be done to punish those who commit crimes against journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 85% of all journalists’ murderers faced neither investigation nor prosecution for their crimes, during the last 15 years. “Sometimes authorities are simply not interested in investigating the case, sometimes they deliberately seek to hide the truth by not allowing investigation into the matter,” said the committee.

We cannot accept this state of affairs. Journalists have to be kept safe and free to do their job. It isn’t just for them, it’s also for us. We deserve to have a free flow of information and to stay informed.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost” -Thomas Jefferson, 1786

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