Media freedom and human rights groups marked World Press Freedom Day 2022 on May 3.
UNESCO hosted its annual conference in Uruguay – “Journalism under Digital Siege” focusing on the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, safety of journalists, privacy and access to information.
On May 1, Pope Francis acknowledged the event, telling worshipers, “I pay homage to journalists who pay with their lives to serve this right. Special thanks go to those who courageously inform us of the wounds of humanity.”
Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said “The war in Ukraine provides yet another tragic illustration of the vulnerability of journalists in conflict situations…. states can and should do more to reinforce their safety.”
“The importance of press coverage of armed conflicts cannot be overstated.
By gathering and disseminating reliable information about armed conflicts, journalists carry out a crucial mission of public interest.
It is often thanks to journalists that serious human rights violations, war crimes, and other atrocities are brought to the attention of the public and of decision makers.
By going where others do not go, by interviewing people, verifying facts, getting the news out, they lay out the situation before our eyes.
Sometimes journalists covering conflicts have also helped courts obtain crucial evidence to hold war criminals to account.
Their work can therefore document crimes, help to uphold human rights, establish accountability and foster international solidarity.
This comes however with a price. Journalists on duty in the battlefield often face extreme danger, sometimes similar to that faced by members of the armed forces.”