Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on World Press Freedom Day

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
May 3, 2023

Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on World Press Freedom Day

This year marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day and a lot has changed in three decades. We’ve seen the rise of global networks and a revolution in news reporting brought on by the expansion of the internet and social media platforms.

Yet, around the world, journalists are being threatened, detained, or physically attacked. On April 17, 50 UN Member States joined me to denounce Russia’s crackdown on freedom of expression, including the wrongful detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Let me be clear: no member of the press should be threatened, detained, or physically attacked by anyone for doing their job.

But this isn’t just happening in Russia. Austin Tice was abducted in Syria more than a decade ago and as President Biden said, we will not cease our effort to find Austin and bring him home.

And in Iran, authorities detained Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi for reporting on the death of Mahsa Amini – underscoring the degree to which authoritarian and corrupt governments fear journalists who expose their wrongdoings.

The United States calls for the release of every journalist and media worker throughout the world who has been incarcerated simply for doing their essential jobs.

According to UNESCO, there was a significant increase in the number of journalists facing judicial harassment in the form of lawsuits and arrests intended to silence the free press and force journalists to cease their important work.

UNESCO also noted 86 journalists were killed in 2022 – a 50 percent increase after years of decline. Disturbingly, the perpetrators of these crimes go unpunished in nine out of ten cases. We honor the memories of those who lost their lives in the line of duty and we urge other governments to hold perpetrators accountable.

As we mark World Press Freedom Day, the United States will continue to advocate for press freedom – today and every day.