World Press Freedom Day
Press freedom in America is threatened.
by Stephen Lendman
America's First Amendment affirms it. So does Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It states "(e)veryone 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."
In December 1993, the UN General Assembly declared May 3 World Press Freedom Day. Following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference, it did so to:
- "celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
- assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
- defend the media from attacks on their independence; (and)
- pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty."
From April 30 to May 3, 1991, UNESCO's "Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press" seminar issued a Declaration of Windhoek. It called for "protecting fundamental free expression principles."
They're fragile and threatened, even in so-called democratic societies. Journalist AJ Liebling (1904 - 1963) once said "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Conditions are much worse today than decades earlier.
At issue is repressive police state legislation. HR 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) provides the latest example. It's more about destroying personal freedom than cybersecurity.
It reveals the hypocrisy of a May 3 State Department statement, saying in part:
"On World Press Freedom Day--and every day--the United States honors and supports media freedom at home and abroad. Press freedom is a key element of the freedom of expression, which is a foundation for other universal human rights."