Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Celebrates World Press Freedom Day 2012; Urges Strong Global Support for Media FreedomThursday, May 03, 2012
May 3 2012
Contact: Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
For immediate release
Washington, D.C. – The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is joining numerous domestic and international organizations from around the world in celebrating World Press Freedom Day 2012 on May 3. As global leaders gather in Tunis for an international conference on press freedom sponsored by the United Nations, the commission urges all governments and people to support freedom of expression through the media.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” This principle is in keeping with the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from making any law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Access to independent and diverse sources of information is critical for the establishment of an informed electorate and for democratic, transparent governance. Yet in too many countries today, freedom of the press is severely restricted, and journalists face grave dangers. The commission condemns all attacks on journalists and supports the ongoing struggle for freedom of journalistic expression in all forms, from radio and television to newspapers and online media.
In addition, TLHRC co-chairs Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) said the commission stands with all those brave journalists who have given their lives in pursuit of uncovering and reporting the truth. “Journalists are the lifeblood of democracy and the source of much of the world’s information about human rights abuses,” they said. “We honor their courageous sacrifices and their tremendous contributions to the free flow of information and the advancement of fundamental human rights.”