Islamabad, 3 May 2023 (TDI):  On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the power of press freedom and promoting journalist safety around the world, the United States (US) Embassy in Islamabad recognizes the importance of a free press as a cornerstone of a vibrant democracy and one of the most effective tools for advancing human rights.

The latest World Press Freedom Index, released by advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has revealed that the situation for journalism worldwide is getting worse, with an unprecedented 31 countries ranked in a “very serious situation.”

The report cites increased aggression from authoritarian governments and even some democracies, as well as propaganda campaigns and disinformation, as contributing factors.

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The RSF secretary general, Christophe Deloire, has called for the international community to act decisively to reverse this dangerous trend. The United Nations has also reported that media freedom has declined in 85% of countries in the past five years.

The index examines the state of media in 180 countries and territories, considering the ability of journalists to publish news without interference and threats to their safety.

Only three out of 10 countries are considered to have a satisfactory environment for journalism, and the situation is “bad” in seven out of 10 countries.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, a reminder of governments’ duty to uphold freedom of expression.

In recent years, the world has witnessed the crucial role of a free press in holding governments accountable and shining a light on abuses of power.

Despite the challenges faced by journalists around the world, their unwavering dedication to the pursuit of truth and commitment to upholding the principles of press freedom continues to inspire the public.

However, the safety of journalists in many parts of the world remains a concern. Journalists face numerous risks, including harassment, intimidation, arrest, and even violence, simply for doing their job.

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The US Embassy in Islamabad reaffirms its commitment to promoting and protecting press freedom, both in Pakistan and around the world.

“We believe that a free and independent press is essential to the functioning of a healthy democracy and to the protection of human rights. Journalists who face risks and challenges every day deserve our support, and we salute their courage and dedication,” the Embassy added.

On this World Press Freedom Day, let us all rededicate ourselves to upholding the principles of press freedom and supporting the vital work of journalists around the world.

As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken once said:

“A free press is not a luxury. It’s not something that we simply like to have. It’s absolutely essential to democracies.”