right to freedom of expression as exercised by journalists and media is
fundamental to the protection and promotion of democracy, all human rights and
freedoms and the rule of law. Free, independent, and pluralistic media both
online and offline is crucial for a democratic society to make informed
decisions, hold governments, institutions and individuals accountable and hear
a diversity of opinions. Being able to
work in safety allows journalists to fulfill their
crucial role of being a source of objective and unbiased information.
the world responds to various conflicts around the globe, a free press and its
ability to access means of reporting, including digital methods, have never
been more important. Media workers on the frontlines play a critical role in
reporting and documenting the realities and impacts of conflict and corruption,
as well as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and human rights
violations and abuses, as they are often the first witnesses to history.
states continue to suppress and censor the media; they also arrest, intimidate,
harass and kill journalists and media workers whose vital contributions
allow the world to glimpse the situation on the ground and to take action based on the information these
brave individuals have provided. Women journalists are particularly at
risk of marginalization and are targeted disproportionally by harassment and
violence. In many cases, states also do not investigate threats of killing, violence
and attacks against journalists and media workers, which emboldens the
perpetrators of crimes and has a further chilling effect on society, as well as
on the exercise of freedom of expression.
with the physical danger that journalists and other media workers face, global
changes in media business models have placed independent journalism
institutions into a financially precarious state, causing what some observers
have called a “media extinction event” with the shuttering of media outlets
around the world that deliver vital informational services to their
communities. This concerning trend threatens to deny persons across the globe
access to information and hobble their ability to hold powerful
actors to account. This is having a disproportionate impact on persons belonging to
marginalized groups due to the intersecting discrimination they face.
and every day, we call on states to end repression of the media and media
workers. We call on states to cease efforts to hinder reporting through
legislation that limits access to the Internet, that threatens incarceration
for reporting the truth and that allows strategic lawsuits against public
participation (SLAPP) to harass and intimidate media organizations and
call on governments, private sector actors, and individuals to come together to
develop viable solutions to strengthen critical institutions of journalism and
support a resilient and viable independent media sector.
Media Freedom Coalition, calls on all countries to counter threats to media
freedom and take actions at a national level and the international level
to ensure the right to freedom of expression is upheld – including the
freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless
of frontiers either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or
through any other media of choice.
We recall that the annual UNESCO World
Press Freedom Day Global Conference is currently taking place in Punta del
Este, Uruguay, under the theme Journalism Under Digital Siege while
highlighting that it provides an opportunity to develop concrete
recommendations to address new challenges connected with the digital era.
applaud those governments that have taken decisive steps to strengthen the
protection of media freedom.
remain united and committed to promoting media freedom and standing against any
efforts to undermine it.Signed:
the Czech Republic
the United Kingdom
the United States