☷Statement by President Joe Biden on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2022
White House ( By Press Release office)
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We live in perilous times for press freedom . At least eleven journalists have been killed in Ukraine in recent weeks . Another 11 have been wounded by gunfire . Others have been kidnapped and assaulted , and at least one remains missing . In Russia , the Kremlin has tightened its vice - grip on civil society , including through passage of a “disinformation” law intended to silence those speaking the truth . Facing the choice of repression and censorship or the threat of retribution , Russian journalists , and other members of the media have made the difficult choice to flee their country . This is the price media workers and their families are paying to tell us the story of Putin’s unjust and brutal war in Ukraine . And it is the price paid around the world by journalists who have dedicated their lives to keep the world informed and share the truth . Journalists cover war , expose corruption , document environmental damage , lift up the marginalized , champion our communities , and hold the powerful to account . And for this , too often , they are killed , jailed , raped , threatened , and harassed . Women journalists , long a minority in the newsroom , are disproportionately targeted , on - and offline , in these attacks . In the United States , national and local media are covering a once - in - a - century pandemic , a generational reckoning on race , and the existential threat of climate change . The free press is not the enemy of the people . Quite the opposite , when driven by a quest to illuminate and educate , not inflame or entertain , the free press is the guardian of truth . Over the past five years , UNESCO estimates that 85 percent of the world’s population have experienced a decline in press freedom That’s why , at the first Summit for Democracy last December , I announced a series of new initiatives – from new programs to protect journalists from spurious lawsuits , to seed funding for the International Fund for Public Interest Media , to expanded support for at - risk reporters – that elevate a renewed commitment by the United States to champion fact - based reporting and independent media globally . Foreign governments , civil society , and the private sector also have an important roles to play in sustaining this vital work , and the United States stands ready to be a partner in all these efforts . Collectively , we can and must do more to protect and sustain independent media , and to hold to account those that seek to silence voices essential to transparent , trustworthy , and responsive governance . On this World Press Freedom Day , I honor the courage and sacrifice of journalists around the world , and commend all those who strive to inform , educate , and enlighten . The work of free and independent media matters now more than ever . ###
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