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Photo: Antonín Nádvorník (©MZV)
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Statement of the MFA on the Occasion of the World Press Freedom Day

 

Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, the World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on May 3. It is the UNESCO that is mandated to protect and promote freedom of the media worldwide. This year, the main themes of the World Press Freedom Day are the need of accurate and independent reporting, gender equality in the field of journalistic profession and digital safety. The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is annually awarded on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day. This year’s winner is currently imprisoned Syrian journalist and human rights activist Mazen Darwish.

The commitment to strengthening media independence and increasing the quality of journalism is a consistent part of the Czech human rights policy. The Czech Republic pursues this policy through its active membership in international organizations, in a dialogue with the third countries and it is also one of the main thematic priorities of the Transition Policy projects of the MFA. In the OSCE, it also broadly supports the Representative on Freedom of the Media. One of the tangible examples of the MFA’s support of independent media is an active cooperation with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL),that will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its transfer from Munich to Prague in June. The MFA together with the RFE/RL have initiated two fellowship programs for young talented journalists – Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship for Eastern Partnership countries and Russia and Jiří Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship for the Western Balkans countries.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the media are vital for good governance as well as for citizens to be able to make informed decisions. It helps to expose corruption and abuse of power and allows citizens to demand accountability of their governments. It is a pillar of a free society. The ongoing repressions of journalists and independent media in many countries around the world present a threat to democratic values. Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to thank all those journalists who continue working and often risking their freedom and lives in order to provide their societies this invaluable service of independent reporting.

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