Media Freedom Coalition Executive Group statement on coronavirus (COVID-19)

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition’s Executive Group are calling on all states to continue to protect access to free media and to support the free exchange of information.

We recognise that the pandemic poses a major threat to global public health. This has prompted governments to implement exceptional measures to protect the health and safety of their citizens. In this context, we reaffirm the fundamental importance of media freedom.

We commend journalists and other media workers on the front line of reporting on this health crisis. Their work serves to keep societies informed, to promote proper health measures and to counter false or misleading information. It allows people to access credible information to protect their health and that of their communities. It allows people to recognise problems that must be addressed and to hold their governments to account.

We are concerned by the efforts by some states to use the crisis to put in place undue restrictions on a free and independent media. Such actions deny societies critical information on the spread of the disease and undermine trust in responsible government.

We remain committed to supporting governments as they take steps to protect media freedom. We urge governments to continue guaranteeing the freedom and independence of media, the safety of journalists and other media professionals, and to refrain from imposing undue restrictions in the fight against proliferation of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Signed:

Canada
Germany
Latvia
the Netherlands
the United Kingdom
the United States

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