Protecting Press Freedom Across the Globe

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, in part, that everyone has the right "to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Despite this clear articulation of the universal importance of freedom of the press, journalists around the world are targeted and censored, threatened, and killed just for exercising their right to free expression. In 2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 60 journalists were killed while on the job. In 2013, 73 were killed. To quote Ambassador Samantha Power: "The pursuit of truth is a dangerous business, and it has become ever more so."

Right now is the “most deadly, dangerous period for journalists in recent history.”

Against this grim backdrop, the United Nations Security Council will convene a high-level debate to address the protection of journalists around the world, especially in conflict zones, at 10:00 AM EDT on Wednesday May 27, 2015. You can watch the event live at www.webtv.un.org.

The protection of journalists is fundamentally about defending freedom of the press. The United States has condemned -- and will continue to condemn -- violence against journalists. In 2014, the United States co-sponsored an UN General Assembly resolution on the safety of journalists and impunity and a Human Rights Council resolution on journalist safety. The year before that, the United States convened a UN Security Council debate on the protection of journalists. And we fully endorsed the 2012 UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.  In each of these instances, the United States has sought to elevate media freedom issues on the world’s largest diplomatic stage and remind all member states -- many of which do not respect media freedoms -- of their international obligations to do so.

The United States works tirelessly to promote media freedom at the UN, and also advances this vital issue around the world through our interactions with other countries, public diplomacy, and programming efforts with individual countries on a daily basis.

For example, the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development support media programs across the globe that focus on investigative reporting, journalist education, conflict sensitivity reporting and youth civic engagement through media. These programs also seek to foster increased diversity in the media sector, gender-sensitive media programming, and access to independent media in local languages. 

The Department of State also conducts an annual “Free the Press” campaign in the days leading up to World Press Freedom Day, which this year was May 3, during which the Department publicizes on a daily basis the profiles of journalists or media outlets that have been censored, attacked, threatened, disappeared or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting.

This year at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, in honor of World Press Freedom Day, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power hosted a panel discussion with Kenan Aliyev, the director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq, and Soli Gebremicheal, a founding member of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 blog, to talk about the challenges facing journalists today and what the United States and the international community can do to help protect press freedom around the world.

The United States will continue to speak out about the value of press freedom to any healthy society. We cannot remain quiet when journalists are unfairly arrested, detained, tortured, and killed; we must continue to raise these issues with foreign officials at every level; and we must continue to promote journalists’ physical safety, the dignity of their profession, and their ability to tell their stories openly without fear of retribution.

About the Author: Caroline Weisser serves as Digital Director at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

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Comments

Comments

Nancy B.
|
United States
May 26, 2015
Who is going to protect journalists from being intimidated by their government here in the U.S.?
Manfred W.
|
Austria
May 27, 2015
Journalists AND AlSO BLOGGERS should be protected by International Community.
Patrick W.
|
Maryland, USA
June 7, 2015
You forgot one ! Journalist are also imprisoned on made up charges by government.
Patrick W.
|
Maryland, USA
June 7, 2015
Sorry, false imprisonment could be considered targeting. But it happens so often you could be more specific..Targeting can mean a lot of things. Also, I don't think America intimidates journalist, because they put everything in the news these days. LOL :)
Patrick W.
|
Maryland, USA
June 23, 2015
They should make an international law that protects journalist against harassment by Groups , Organizations, and Governments illegal .
Ambassador Power Hosts Panel Discussion on Press Freedom
Posted by Caroline Weisser
May 22, 2015

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