International Press Institute on WPFD 2008

On World Press Freedom Day, IPI Calls for all Governments to Reject
Attempts to Limit Press Freedom

“On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2008, IPI calls upon all
governments to combat limitations on press freedom and to work harder
at ensuring that the media is able to report on issues of public
interest,” said IPI Director David Dadge.

“We are very worried that, while there is a growing coalition of
countries actively seeking to suppress this freedom, those countries
who traditionally support press freedom have yet to wake up to the
fact that it is under threat.”

Over recent years, press freedom and freedom of expression have come
under growing pressure from a coalition of Islamic countries seeking
to limit this fundamental right in order to protect religion.

On 28 March, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution forcing
the UN Special Rapporteur on Free Expression to investigate instances
where freedom of expression may have discriminated against race or

The resolution places the Special Rapporteur in the difficult position
of being both defender and prosecutor of press freedom, raising fears
that this important role is slowly being eroded by countries who
desire to protect religion.

In a previous session, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution
urging governments to fight against the defamation of religions. The
resolution is one of many passed by this body or its predecessor, the
United Nations Commission on Human Rights, since 1999.

Although the resolution is phrased in general terms, the campaign is
being led by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on
behalf of Islamic countries. The phrase appears to create a new
international form of defamation focusing on the defence of beliefs,
as opposed to individuals, and could limit religious reporting.

Vienna 2 May 2008

Similar Posts