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Empowering Journalism: The Impact of the 2024 World Press Freedom Day

The European Publishers Council marks 2024 World Press Freedom Day with warnings about increasing threats to the safety and freedom of journalists reporting on the climate crisis around the world

As we commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the European Publishers Council and its members stand in solidarity with journalists around the globe who courageously uphold the principles of truth, transparency, and accountability. This year’s theme, "Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis" underscores the critical role of a free press in addressing one of the most pressing challenges of our time. The number of environmental journalists being attacked or killed is rising, and the climate crisis is one of the most dangerous fields of journalism after reporting on wars and conflict. Increasingly journalists covering the climate crisis face police harassment and lawsuits to silence them.

Freedom of expression is not only a fundamental human right but also a cornerstone of democracy. Journalists play a pivotal role in fostering public discourse and holding those in power accountable, especially in the face of the climate crisis and the environment more broadly. As communities struggle with the consequences of environmental degradation, it is imperative that journalists have the freedom to report on issues such as climate change, deforestation, and environmental justice without fear of censorship or reprisal.

However, the reality is that journalists continue to face grave threats to their safety and freedom. The impunity towards crimes against journalists remains a pressing concern, with perpetrators often evading justice. Attacks, harassment, and intimidation against journalists in all fields of reporting not only undermine press freedom but also erode trust in democratic institutions. We call on governments and international bodies to uphold their commitments to protect journalists and ensure accountability for crimes committed against them.


Furthermore, as technology continues to evolve, so do the challenges to press freedom. The rise of AI presents both opportunities and risks for journalism and publishers. While AI can enhance news gathering, dissemination and provide many news tools, it also raises concerns about surveillance, and misinformation. It is crucial that we navigate these challenges with a commitment to upholding the principles of press freedom and journalistic integrity.

On this World Press Freedom Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to defending the vital role of a free press in promoting transparency, accountability, and democracy. Together, let us stand in solidarity with journalists worldwide and the publishers that are supporting them and work towards a future where press freedom is not just a principle but a reality for all.

The European Publishers Council remains steadfast in its dedication to promoting press freedom and supporting the role of publishers and their journalists in their pursuit of truth and justice.


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