Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (3 May), on World Press Freedom Day:
The present day is intended to remind us of the overwhelming importance of press freedom, not just in Germany, but all around the world. It is indispensable if people are to form their own informed opinions and it is a guarantee against corruption. Press freedom enables the media to serve as an independent source of information, uncovering injustices and thereby helping to uphold and preserve states built on democratic values.
Today we recall all those who are imprisoned in so many parts of the world for exercising this right, and, above all, we recall those who have paid with their lives for reporting frankly from the world’s trouble spots, such as the German journalist Anja Niedringhaus, who was recently murdered in Afghanistan. Their dedication to freedom of the press as an institution is not only commendable, but also indispensable when it comes to combating undue state influence in the shaping of public opinion.
This is true not only with regard to the traditional print media, but also and quite particularly with respect to the Internet. The chance to disseminate information through the Internet is an opportunity that has already been seized in many ways. Wherever the printed press is subject to repression, recourse can be had to the Internet thanks to the anonymity it fortunately provides.