WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today was joined by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jim Moran (R-Kan.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) in introducing a Senate Resolution to commemorate World Press Freedom Day and to recognize growing threats to press freedom and free expression worldwide. The bipartisan resolution reaffirms the vital role that a free and independent press plays in combatting the growing threat of authoritarianism, countering misinformation and disinformation, documenting human rights abuses, informing local and international audiences about public health crises, and furthering discourse and debate to advance healthy democracies.
“This World Press Freedom Day, I am proud to once again be joined by my colleagues in recognizing the immense strength of an informed public and the importance of free press as a foundational pillar of democracy,” Chairman Menendez said. “As we witness more governments and malign actors across the world desperately try to muzzle the press to prevent the facts from reaching their own people, our support for the brave journalists risking everything to advance truth, transparency and accountability has never been more critical. From Moscow to Washington D.C., free expression and a free and independent press are not only central to the health of a society, but are at the forefront of our efforts to protect and advance human rights and good governance worldwide.”
“Journalists provide crucial insights into human suffering, corruption, and unrest worldwide,” Senator Rubio said. “Sadly, authoritarians such as those in the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, and Nicaragua are fiercely determined to censure any voice that challenges their own twisted narratives. I am proud to introduce this resolution and lend my unwavering support to the cause of press freedom worldwide.”
“On this World Press Freedom Day, we are confronted by the very real dangers facing professional journalists every day in war zones like Ukraine and repressive, autocratic regimes like Russia. The men and women who continue to report despite the hardships and risks, are guardians of the truth and democracy,” said Senator Cardin. “The United States is not immune from efforts to limit open reporting and spread disinformation, even violence against members of the media. We must continue to support journalists as they carry out their work to report the truth here at home and around the world.”
“This resolution sends the important message that press freedom remains essential and attempts to threaten the rights of journalists represent a serious affront to universal human rights,” said Senator Kaine. “Those principles must stay top-of-mind not only on World Press Freedom Day, but every day.”
“Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is just the most recent reminder of how important it is to have a free press that can report on the truth and hold leaders accountable so the world can know the unvarnished facts on the ground,” Senator Coons said. “On World Press Freedom Day, we must recommit ourselves to standing up to autocrats who clamp down on independent journalists, working to ensure reporters around the world can do their jobs without fearing for their personal safety, and vigilantly defending first amendment rights here at home.”
“A free press serves as a check on tyranny and authoritarianism around the globe. But recent attacks on the media and journalists have put this freedom under great threat. We must stand in solidarity with all those who report the truth and especially those who do so in the face of repressive regimes. No one should ever have their rights threatened for telling the facts,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Journalists in Ukraine risk their lives to help pull back the curtain on the atrocities being committed by the Russian military against civilians,” said Senator Moran. “While freedom of the press is enshrined in our Constitution, members of the press in many places around the world do not enjoy the same protections. We must do our part to cultivate freedom for the press around the globe.”
“Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are both vital to democracy and we should do everything we can to protect it,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution to raise awareness around this universal freedom and to recognize those journalists who deliver the truth to the people every day, especially those who lost their lives doing so.”
Find a copy of the resolution HERE.