World Press Freedom Day 2015
Once again the recurrence of the “World Press Freedom Day” faces a very worrying situation for journalists and media people in general giving their time and energy to inform about what is happening on a local, national, European and worldwide level.
Unfortunately, is daily evidence of journalists who in addition to giving time and energy for providing information give their life. The atrocity committed by ISIS has shocked the entire civilized world.
On the today’s World Press Freedom recurrence our thoughts go out to all the 96 journalists and media people who during last year were killed because and during their journalistic work. We also think of the 200 journalists of different gender who in performing their profession were arrested and are seating now in jail. Particularly intensified has been the situation in China.
And how not to think at the more than 150 colleagues of different gender who needed to leave their country due do murder threat or to escape arrest.
Behind these tragic numbers there is immeasurable suffering of people, dreadful destinies, traumatized families. And all this do to the fact that these colleagues wanted to make truth and facts transparent.
Especially terrible is the fact that significant numbers of this situation refer to Europe.
In the Ukraine 33 journalists were abducted while performing theit profession; six journalists were killed and 47 ( most of them by separatists) were arrested.
In addition to that attacks and threats against journalists have increased dramatically in Ukraine (215 cases in 2014).
The EJ requires in this day from both the Ukraine government and the separatists respect for the professional activity of the journalists who have not to be hindered in the performance of the important work.
Our journalistic work has become harder also due to the fact that in addition to violence we need to face hostility by groups which criticize and question the importance of the media.
Freedom of expression is a principle and a value anchored in many national constitutions and international conventions and papers but the reality is often quite different. It happens that the same governments that should guarantee the correct and full implementation of the rule of law are the first ones to disrespect It, forcing often journalists to perform self-censorship. Unfortunately we have also within the European Union, especially in Eastern Europe, situations with no suitable provisions for the protection of journalists.
We experience unfortunately situations where journalists are not paid for writing, but “for not writing”, with total political unconcern.
Free information and freedom of expression are basic conditions for democratic participation. Lack of free information and access to information sources means undermining a democratic society.
Concentration of media is another trend threatening freedom of expression.
As the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has stated in a joint declaration for the World Press Freedom Day, “Quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society’s development. It also works to expose injustice, corruption, and the abuse of power. For this, journalism must be able to thrive, in an enabling environment in which they can work independently and without undue interference and in conditions of safety."
The World Press Freedom Day 2015 theme is: “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality and media safety in the digital age”.
In order to make it possible we need the convergence of efforts and commitments by all the institutions having at heart human dignity and the future of a better world.
In addition to the new opportunities offered by the digital age we need to be very well prepared in the management of the ProCom WebWorld. To this regard “Open Journalism”, for which the office of the “OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media” promotes praiseworthy initiatives, is a new way of information-communication requiring particular ethic and legal attention.
Praiseworthy are also all the initiatives and undertakings of the “Information Society and Action against Crime Department” of the College of Europe.
With regard to the European Union, the relevant Institutions must be more committed to make sure that all the member states’ governments act responsibly in guaranteeing freedom of expression.
The “European Journalists Association - The Communication Network” (EJ) is committed since its establishment to promote freedom of the media and is preparing a new cooperation setting to further strengthening its engagement in the relevant field.
Statement drafted by: