Today, we, members of the Media Freedom Coalition, honour the courage of alljournalists and media workers, especially those who report from conflict and warzones, on corruption and on government and corporate abuses, both online andoffline.
The right to freedom of expression as exercised by journalists and media is fundamentalto the protection and promotion of democracy, all human rights and freedoms and therule of law. Free, independent, and pluralistic media both online and offline is crucial for ademocratic society to make informed decisions, hold governments, institutions andindividuals accountable and hear a diversity of opinions. Being able to work in safetyallows journalists to fulfill their crucial role of being a source of objective and unbiasedinformation.
As the world responds to various conflicts around the globe, a free press and its ability toaccess means of reporting, including digital methods, have never been more important.
Media workers on the frontlines play a critical role in reporting and documenting therealities and impacts of conflict and corruption, as well as war crimes, crimes againsthumanity, genocide, and human rights violations and abuses, as they are often the firstwitnesses to history.
Many 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 toglimpse the situation on the ground and to take action based on the information thesebrave individuals have provided. Women journalists are particularly at risk ofmarginalization and are targeted disproportionally by harassment and violence. In manycases, states also do not investigate threats of killing, violence and attacks againstjournalists and media workers, which emboldens the perpetrators of crimes and has afurther chilling effect on society, as well as on the exercise of freedom of expression.
Coupled with the physical danger that journalists and other media workers face, globalchanges in media business models have placed independent journalism institutions intoa financially precarious state, causing what some observers have called a “mediaextinction event” with the shuttering of media outlets around the world that deliver vitalinformational services to their communities. This concerning trend threatens to denypersons across the globe access to information and hobble their ability to hold powerfulactors to account. This is having a disproportionate impact on persons belonging tomarginalized groups due to the intersecting discrimination they face.
Today and every day, we call on states to end repression of the media and mediaworkers. 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 thatallows strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) to harass and intimidatemedia organizations and workers.
We call on governments, private sector actors, and individuals to come together todevelop viable solutions to strengthen critical institutions of journalism and support aresilient and viable independent media sector.
The Media Freedom Coalition, calls on all countries to counter threats to media freedomand take actions at a national level and the international level to ensure the right tofreedom of expression is upheld – including the freedom to seek, receive and impartinformation 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 iscurrently taking place in Punta del Este, Uruguay, under the theme Journalism UnderDigital Siege while highlighting that it provides an opportunity to develop concreterecommendations to address new challenges connected with the digital era.
We applaud those governments that have taken decisive steps to strengthen theprotection of media freedom.
We remain united and committed to promoting media freedom and standing against anyefforts to undermine it.
the Czech Republic
the United Kingdom
the United States