Washington DC, 4 May 2023 (TDI): Marking the 30th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, Secretary of the United States (US), Antony Blinken, and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský released a joint statement on media freedom on behalf of the governments of the US and the Czech Republic.
In the statement, both countries have highlighted their shared commitment to promote democracy, civil society, and human rights, including the freedom of expression.
Both countries recognize the vital importance of media freedom and a vibrant independent press as a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. The free and unfettered flow of information, ideas, and opinions is essential to inclusive and tolerant societies and helps ensure that information is a public good.
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In the same vein, the statement notes that the US is committed to a productive relationship with the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and its grantees, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
Likewise, the Czech Republic also supports independent media worldwide through the Transition Promotion Program and notes that Prague has become an important center for the support of free media, especially in the post-Soviet space.
Both countries appreciate the important work of RFE/RL, which delivers news content on radio, television, and the internet to 23 countries in 27 languages from its headquarters in Prague.
Its mission to promote democratic values by providing accurate, uncensored news and open debate in countries where a free press is threatened, and disinformation is pervasive is as important as ever.
Furthermore, the joint statement also recognizes that RFE/RL is a constant target of hostile governments due to its programming and that it must compose its workforce with special care.
The US and the Czech Republic stand united in strong support of the work of RFE/RL and acknowledge the external threats that it faces. The Czech government reaffirms its commitment to RFE/RL and its mission to promote human rights and democracy worldwide and welcomes its continued presence in Prague.
Thus, the US and the Czech Republic will continue to collaborate closely to ensure that RFE/RL is able to function effectively in its Prague headquarters, including on the issue of workforce management.
Both countries express their pride in working to rally a broad coalition of friends, partners, and allies around the world to advance media freedom and reaffirm their commitment to continuing to coordinate closely on this important issue.