Today (3 May) Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement to mark World Press Freedom Day:
“Freedom of the press and freedom of opinion are the basis of democracy and freedom. Without these inalienable basic rights our free societies would be unthinkable.
The international community is better informed than ever before, thanks to the courageous efforts of journalists, dissidents and Internet activists around the world. For many this may mean risking physical abuse, prison sentences and even their lives.
They deserve great respect and we owe them our support. We must not look the other way when journalists, dissidents and activists are harassed and persecuted for doing their job. We will continue to campaign strongly for freedom of the press and freedom of opinion to be universally respected.”
World Press Freedom Day on 3 May is an annual event to draw attention to violations of press freedom and highlight the importance of free and independent reporting. It was proclaimed in 1994 in response to a UNESCO initiative.
This year’s Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize awarded by UNESCO goes to Reeyot Alemu, an imprisoned journalist in Ethiopia. The Prize is a tribute to her courageous and committed defence of freedom of opinion.
For more information on World Press Freedom Day, go to www.unesco.org.