On World Press Freedom Day, we celebrate the essential role of a free press not only as a conveyor of reliable and accurate news but as a pillar of democracy, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative, said on Thursday.
The UN General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression stipulated under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In her declaration published on the Delegation of EU in Bosnia and Herzegovina & EU Special Representative in the country website, Mogherini said that “the EU is promoting free and fair media not only at home but also globally in our relations with third countries.”
She added that the promotion included “the funding for targeted projects that enhance quality journalism, press freedom and access to public information. “
Mogherini said that “with free journalism under increasing pressure, the EU reaffirms its determination to defend press and media freedom within its borders and worldwide.”
Commenting on the current situation with media globally Mogherini said that “we see more and more attempts to curb the space for free media, also by systematically undermining their credibility, and too many journalists have lost their lives or have put their lives at risk for having exposed inconvenient truths.”
Noting that disinformation had a high potential to negatively influence democratic processes and public debates all over the world, Mogherini said the bloc launched the “EU Action Plan against Disinformation” in December last year, to “step up the European response to strengthen the resilience of our societies against disinformation.”
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, warned on Thursday that the position of media in Europe was deteriorating, that the situation regarding journalists’ freedom and safety reached a disturbing point and called on political leaders to show more determination in protecting media people.