Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (2 May) on the eve of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May:
Freedom of opinion and of the press are inalienable civil and human rights. They are also the foundation of every democracy.
According to Reporters without Borders, more than 160 journalists and over 120 online dissidents have already been arrested in 2012, while 19 journalists have been killed. We must not close our eyes to these shocking figures. In 2011, 69 representatives of the media were killed.
Most European countries enjoy a high level of freedom of opinion and of the press. These freedoms can however not be taken for granted, neither internationally nor even in Europe. We must therefore ensure that these fundamental rights are respected and protected worldwide.
The German Government has always been a steadfast advocate for freedom of opinion and of the press. It is very important for journalists to be able to raise awareness of social and political problems and cover them without restriction.