The UN Secretary General warned that press freedom is under attack “in every corner of the world”

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, warned that “Press freedom is under attack in every corner of the world” and repudiated the persecution of journalists and the increase in national laws that increase censorship.

“Stop detaining and imprisoning journalists for doing their job,” Guterres urged in his speech for the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day on May 3. “Enough of threats and attacks, enough of lies and misinformation, enough of attacking the truth and those who tell it,” he said.

Guterres reported that “at least 67 media workers were killed in 2022, which is an incredible 50% increase over the previous year.” And she denounced that almost three quarters of women journalists have suffered violence on the internet and one in four has been physically threatened.

He regretted that reporters are “the object of direct attacks on and off the internet” for carrying out their work. “They are systematically harassed, intimidated, arrested and imprisoned”explained the Secretary General of the United Nations.

He also warned about “the increasing concentration of the media industry in the hands of a few, the financial collapse of dozens of independent news organizations and the increase in national laws and regulations that stifle journalists and are further expanding the censorship and threatening freedom of expression”.

And he added that currently “The truth is threatened by misinformation and hate speech, which tries to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between science and conspiracy.”

“For three decades, on World Press Freedom Day, the international community has celebrated the work of journalists and media workers. This day highlights a basic truth: all our freedom depends on the freedom of the press”, Guterres asserted in his message. “Freedom of the press is the basis of democracy and justice; it provides us with the data we need to form opinions and speak truth to power. And as this year’s theme reminds us, freedom of the press is the fundamental element of human rights,” he remarked.

In 1993 the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day (File photo)

“Safe and supportive environment”

On the other hand, also on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the presidents of the United Nations General Assembly, the General Conference of UNESCO, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Human Rights Council of the The UN signed a joint declaration on Tuesday where They urged all member states to promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“It is time to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and conducive environment for journalists to carry out their work independently and without undue interference,” said Csaba Kőrösi, Santiago Irazabal Mourão, Lachezara Stoeva and Václav Bálek. in the statement.

And they considered that “the promotion of a political culture based on respect and tolerance of divergent opinions expressed through various communication channels is a collective benefit that contributes to the advancement of societies.”

“The safety of media workers must be considered an integral part of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and key to counter misinformation”, they concluded.

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