On May 3rd, we celebrate World Press Freedom Day
and the journalists who risk their lives and personal safety to bear witness
It is never more important to highlight and champion the importance of a free press than during a war. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we are indebted to the brave journalists who risk their lives and personal safety to inform, to educate, to bear witness and to tell the personal stories. They are the eyes and ears, the truth tellers - and this makes them vulnerable, particularly in this war waged, as it is, by aggressors who mislead and misinform their own people and who have shut down their own independent media. We pay our respects to those who have paid the ultimate price.
In the words of French Algerian author, philosopher and journalist Albert Camus, “A free press can be good or bad but, most certainly, without freedom, a press will never be anything but bad.”
We need to consider that one third of the world does not enjoy a free press, allowing abusive and autocratic regimes to thrive. In the EU, we can be proud of a diverse and largely independent free press, but we cannot be complacent. Peace, freedom and democracy are fragile – what is going on in Ukraine is a real and horrifying example.
There are many challenges facing Europe’s media, both economic and regulatory. Our media perform a vital role in society in informing citizens about issues of importance and matters that they care about – everything from education and health to the economy and politics, wars and other world changing events, the environment and climate change, as well as life-style interests, travel, music and sport.
An independent, free press is a cornerstone of democratic society and it cannot fail.
Because of the measures taken by the government due to Covid-19, Difference Day 2021 will take place digitally. You can find the events program here