The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is committed to defending and promoting a free and independent press worldwide everyday, but particularly on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.
This year’s theme is the importance of a free press for democracy, whether emerging or well stablished. “Silence kills democracy. But a free press talks”.
A free press is at the very core of the right to free expression, providing a frontline defence for afeguarding access to knowledge and information as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.A free press provides a window through which all other abuses of fundamental rights can be revealed.
It affirms that to criticise, hold to account and call to justice those in power is the right of the many and not a privilege of the few. Put simply, freedom of expression is the right that underpins all rights.
I commend the Rural Media Network of Pakistan for bringing to light the issues surrounding press freedom. I also call on the Government of Pakistan to review and abolish all laws that restrict press freedom and investigate fully any murders of journalists or media workers that remain unsolved, bringing the perpetrators to justice.
I hope that through the work of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and supporters of press freedom in the community, such as the Rural Media Network of Pakistan, freedom of the press becomes a norm, rather than a luxury.