In Myanmar, Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone have been reporting on atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in Mynamar – and now face seven years in jail because of it.
In Yemen, BBC correspondent Nawal Al-Maghafi has traveled through dangerous terrain to share the stories of malnourished children, cut off from the food and medicine they need because of conflict.
And in the Philippines, Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa, an emeritus advisor to our +SocialGood initiative, has exposed government-sponsored violence and repeatedly been arrested while trying to do her job.
Around the world, journalists uncover abuses, document wrongdoing, and shine a light on the issues and solutions that matter to people’s lives. Without them, we would be in the dark.
Yet journalists – and the broader media sector – are under threat. In the past five years, 285 journalists have been killed. Nearly half of the global population – 3.4 billion people – live in countries where the media environment is considered “not free,” according to Freedom House. Authoritarian regimes are cracking down on the press, and in democratic countries from the United States to Poland, it’s loudly disparaged.
When journalism is in danger, so is freedom of expression, a fundamental right guaranteed to all of us in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In the face of this growing danger, we can’t stay silent. On May 3, the United Nations and partners mark “World Press Freedom Day” to defend the independence of journalists and to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for the truth.
As a former journalist, I’ve worked with amazing women and men who go the extra mile to get the story out. And as the head of communications at the UN Foundation, our team work with journalists from around the world who are raising awareness of urgent and complex issues, from reproductive health to humanitarian aid to climate change and polio eradication.
It can be easy to complain about the news coverage that fills our TVs or social media feeds. But our societies could not function without the press. UN Secretary-General António Guterres summed it up, saying: “A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development, and human rights.”
With journalism under fire, now is the time to answer the UN’s call to speak out for press freedom.
Join us today and raise your voice to say that #PressFreedom matters.