Media professionals resolve to uphold freedom of independent journalism

Posted May 05, 2017

Long live press freedom!

A free and open press is crucial to an informed and engaged citizenry, which is at the heart of a healthy democracy.

Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has decried the high number of journalists killed last one year.

India ranked 136th on World Press Freedom Index, 3 points lower than last year's.

He said a vibrant and independent media is the bedrock of every democratic nation, "and we must all work together to protect these institutions".

The global event to mark the day is being observed in Jakarta, Indonesia, under the theme "Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media's role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies".

In Islamabad, a solidarity camp will be set up outside the Dawn office at about 4pm where office-bearers of the PFUJ and RIUJ will address journalists, other media workers and members of the civil society and political parties.

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India ranked 136 in the World Press Freedom Index, three points down than a year ago.

Regional and worldwide journalists will invite for this event next year, he added.

Norway, Sweden, and Finland were the top three countries in the Press Freedom Index, Jamaica placed 8th, Suriname, 20th, Trinidad and Tobago 34th while Guyana was 60th. Additionally, the organization publishes "Predators of Press Freedom", a list of politicians, government officials, militias, religious leaders, and criminal organizations, who target journalists.

The IFJ listed 93 cases of killings of journalists around the world past year and in 2017, 13 have lost their lives to violence so far.

"Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals", the report goes on to say, and not to mention the sedition charges pressed on journalists.

It is imperative that the government appreciates the need to respect and uphold constitutional provisions which provides the framework of protections, obligations, rights and fundamental freedoms accorded all persons in Zimbabwe, especially media freedom.

"Vitriolic attacks on individual journalists and news outlets in the United States undermine our democracy's status as a model of press freedom", Abramowitz said.