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

 

The World Press Freedom Day is annually observed on May 3rd to commemorate the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration in support of independent and pluralistic press, whose ideals and principles were later endorsed by the UN and the international community. The aim of the Declaration, adopted in 1991, was to foster the belief that free media and free access to information are a prerequisite of rule of law, democracy and respect to human rights.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic aligns itself with the principles of the Windhoek Declaration. We are convinced that only those citizens who are not infringed on their rights to access to information can fruitfully participate in public affairs and only those journalists who are not exposed to political, material or existential pressure are capable of delivering reliable information.

Regretfully, it must be stated that freedom of the media is still being suppressed in many parts of the world and journalists are still being persecuted for their work. In several countries we are witnessing a worsening tendency. At the same time, independent journalism is an increasingly demanding profession due to the speedy spread of news on social and other on-line media. It is harder than ever to discern true facts from mistakes or deliberate disinformation and propaganda.

In compliance with the priorities of its Human Rights and Transition Policy Concept, the Czech Republic has shown longstanding commitment towards support of independent media, freedom of expression and access to information. It supports activities of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and raises these issues within UNESCO that awards its World Press Freedom Price every year. In the scope of its transition cooperation, the MFA distributes about CZK 20 mil every year on projects aiming not only at direct support to independent media, but also at media literacy, training of journalists and initiatives disclosing fake news.

Effective protection of media independency can only be achieved through cooperation with partners around the globe. Therefore, the Czech Republic works hand in hand with likeminded governments, international organisations and European institutions, as well as non-governmental organisations and media. The MFA partners with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty the MFA on the Václav Havel and Jiří Dienstbier fellowships for young journalists from Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.

In the latest years we have witnessed both increasing pressure on independent media and widespread impact of disinformation campaigns, which proves the importance of journalist, who fearlessly keep on delivering reliable information. The Czech Republic will remain committed to supporting these brave individuals in their vital mission.

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