29 April 2011
As the world marks World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the International Press Institute joins our colleagues in celebrating the courage of journalists who bring people one of the most important tools of change: information and truth.
A free press is a prerequisite for a functioning democracy: for people to be heard, they must have a voice. Journalists have been that voice for centuries, often bringing powerful change to societies, toppling
dictatorships, exposing crimes against humanity. Unfortunately, also through the centuries, journalists have faced danger, censorship, intimidation, assault and even murder for their work. According to the International Press Institute’s Death Watch statistics, 870 journalists have been killed since this new century began. Countless more have been harassed, beaten, and jailed.
In this past year alone, we have protested Turkey’s imprisonment of over 55 journalists. We have watched as governments in the Middle East and North Africa have cracked down on the media as a means to stifle free expression and protest.
In Pakistan, in 2010, 16 journalists lost their lives in the course of their work.On this World Press Freedom Day, we celebrate the resilience and bravery of journalists everywhere, who will continue to perform their role in society despite all odds. We remember those who paid the ultimate price for doing so. And we look forward to a future where governments recognize that a free and vibrant press is a necessary and fundamental human right, and work to guarantee it.
On behalf of the International Press Institute,
Alison Bethel McKenzie
International Press Institute
A-1010 Vienna, Austria