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, 2021

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

For nearly three decades, we have celebrated World Press Freedom Day to reaffirm the vital importance of a free press and to honor journalists who, in many parts of the world, place themselves at risk to empower people with the information they need.

The free and wide exchange of information and ideas is foundational to democracy and critical to a functioning society. From public health to civil and political issues, people must have access to information to have agency over their own lives and the lives of their families. Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has offered a particularly vivid example of how reporting and access to journalism can save lives and shape the course of our world.

Today, our strong commitment to press freedom is as important as ever. With authoritarianism on the rise across the globe, we have seen governments target reporters for violence, detention and harassment, restrict internet access, damage technologies belonging to free media, peddle propaganda, and sow disinformation. These actions not only endanger journalists, but the people who benefit from their work. They are the desperate actions of regimes and corrupt individuals with something to gain from the oppression of others.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees journalists, and all people, a right to the freedom of expression. This is a foundational value of the UN system. The United States and our partners at the United Nations, including the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists, will continue to condemn and call out governments that threaten these fundamental rights, target journalists, and engage in suppressing media and the flow of information.