World Press Freedom Day 2022
World Press Freedom Day: EJ Believes Free and Democratic Media Are Indispensable for a United and Peaceful Europe and Supports it with all the Democratic Means.
For many years now, we have been greeting World Press Freedom Day - May 3 - with growing concern about successive global crises, about the state of the media environment and about the increasing attacks on those media and journalists who want to report the world objectively and to be a platform for discussion and different opinions, showing the world as it is.
This year, however, for the first time in more than 75 years, we are celebrating our professional holiday in the midst of a full-scale war raging between two European countries, which is making us witnesses of tragic scenes of violence, destruction and human misery on our continent, which is used to peace and prosperity. The Russian aggression in Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of a new world war, which, with the presence of weapons of mass destruction, we have hitherto considered unthinkable.
This military conflict is also a test for the media and journalists. We can vividly watch how the media are being used as weapons of blatant propaganda and disinformation. We have realized that those worrying trends that we have seen in recent years were not accidental, but inevitably lead to this dire situation in which we find ourselves.
In fact, even the covid-19 pandemic that preceded the war showed the importance of the media in a global crisis, because it is thanks to the media that the world can be stressed and panic-stricken, but also it can properly understand the scale of the threat and the ways in which it can be avoided or contained. This is because journalists, by the very nature of their public profession, live everywhere with the problems of the planet, of their countries, and are at the epicenter of the storms.
Therefore, freedom of the media goes hand in hand with the enormous responsibility of journalists to be objective and to help resolve such crises in the most favourable and just way possible.
On this day, we cannot help but recall that, despite its indispensable role in upholding democratic principles and values in society, the journalistic profession is universally subjected to restrictions, obstruction, political and financial pressure and intimidation from overt and behind-the-scenes powerful political and business circles for whom freedom of speech and information is an obstacle. A number of studies have shown that nearly 75 per cent of journalists around the world have faced obstruction or have been subject to intimidation and attempts of censorship in their reporting on information and issues in crisis situatiuons. This problem is becoming increasingly acute, including in Western countries considered to be pillars of democracy.
The authorities only court or indulge those media and their representatives who follow the "right line", who do not criticize them or who do not "meddle" dangerously deeply in their corruption investigations.
Dear fellow journalists, let us remember: the government needs you, not the other way around. The question is whether and how we will fight for our rights, for a truly free, democratic, quality and independent journalism.
We at the EJ have always strived to be fair and objective in defending the cause for a united, peaceful and prosperous Europe.