To commemorate World Press Freedom Day (May 3), reporters from around the globe, leaders of U.S. international media, and other staff of the Broadcasting Board of Governors today released an interactive presentation containing video testimonials that underscore the importance of press freedom.
BBG-supported news and information programs reach an estimated 206 million people each week in more than 100 countries where the media face significant restrictions.
“Our audiences rely on our journalists for timely and accurate coverage of events affecting them,” said BBG Chairman Jeff Shell. “And given the diminished state of media freedom today, our mission is more important than ever. I applaud the men and women of U.S. international media for speaking out on this occasion, and for their hard work every day.”
In their testimonials, staff for the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Martís, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Networks speak from experience about the impact of media freedom, and the heads of the networks underscore the importance of safeguarding journalists and promoting freedom of information.
In a just-released report, the non-governmental organization Freedom House found that global press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in a decade. Their 2013 Press Freedom Rankings reveal that only one person in seven lives where the media are free. Despite positive developments in several countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, Freedom House indicated declines in every region of the world, particularly in the Middle East, Ukraine and East Africa. The trend toward repression has included increased physical attacks on reporters, censorship and intimidation.
The BBG promotes media freedom through the unbiased news coverage of its networks, programs to combat censorship on the Internet, journalism training programs and partnerships with local affiliates. Information on threats that BBG journalists face and repressive tactics they encounter in countries that lack press freedom can be found here.