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

 

The World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on May 3 since 1993. Freedom of speech and independent media are vital for good governance, informed decision-making and accountability of governments. Recent years demonstrated how influential disinformation attacks and fake news can be and how profound impact they can have on the international affairs and our lives. However, with this wake up calls we have also realized the importance of independent and responsible journalism.

The Czech Republic has shown longstanding commitment towards independent media, freedom of expression and access to information. It supports activities of the Council of Europe or the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also closely cooperates with the European Endowment for Democracy and participates in international initiatives promoting independent media.

The MFA distributes more than 1 million euros every year on projects aiming at direct support to independent media, as well as media literacy, training of journalists and initiatives disclosing fake news. This year, the MFA has further increased a special allocation dedicated solely for the purpose of supporting independent media outlets in the regions of Eastern Europe and Western Balkans.

Thanks to the work of a number of local non-governmental organizations, Prague has earned the reputation of a significant hub for support of independent media and civil society, especially in the post-Soviet space. The MFA recognizes this important contribution of Czech media and civil society and it proudly cooperates with a number of these partners.

Vaclav Havel and Jiří Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship organized by the MFA jointly with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty can serve as good examples of such a cooperation. They offer to young talented journalists from Eastern Europe and Western Balkans the opportunity to spend nine months in the institution which has for decades served as one of the standard setters for proffesional journalism.

Across all the continents the pressure on independent media, journalists and bloggers has grown in recent years and so did the risks for those providing independent reporting. Some of them have even lost their life in connection with their journalistic work. The MFA values the dedication of these brave people and remains committed to supporting them in their vital mission.

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