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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

UN General Assembly President invokes Mahatma Gandhi to call for protection of journalists

He noted with concern that journalists and media workers across the globe are increasingly under threat – from kidnapping and torture to arbitrary detention, and losing their lives at alarming rates, whether as casualities of war or or as deliberate targets of state authority

PTI United Nations Published 04.05.24, 05:51 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

Invoking global peace icon Mahatma Gandhi’s message on freedom of the press, UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis called on member states to reaffirm their commitment to protecting journalists and media workers worldwide.

In a post on X on World Press Freedom Day, marked on May 3, Francis said attacks on press freedom undermine democracy. In the face of misinformation, disinformation, and the environmental crisis, society needs the independence, expertise, and integrity of a free media more than ever.

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“In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, 'freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego.’ On #WorldPressFreedomDay, let's reaffirm our commitment to protecting journalists and media workers worldwide,” he said.

In his message, Francis, the President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, said press freedom – a core component of the right to freedom of expression – recognises the right of journalists and media organisations to operate independently and to report the news impartially without censorship or intimidation.

He noted with concern that journalists and media workers across the globe are increasingly under threat – from kidnapping and torture to arbitrary detention, and losing their lives at alarming rates, whether as casualities of war or or as deliberate targets of state authority.

“As we honour those who are members of the fifth estate who have fallen in our service on this day, let us all recommit to protecting journalists and media workers – as a paramount obligation for promoting inclusive media coverage, to inform and educate society including on current environmental issues,” he said.

Francis called upon member states to prioritise upholding and honouring freedom of expression, protecting journalists as well as media workers – and ending impunity. “Ensuring accountability for attacks against and harassment of journalists and media workers is crucial to upholding democratic values, globally,” he said.

In this era characterised by the pervasive trend of misinformation and disinformation, society needs the independence, expertise and integrity of a free media, more than ever, he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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