NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in honor of World Press Freedom Day.
“Freedom of the press is a fundamental human right, foundational pillar of democracy, and an indispensable check on authoritarian overreach. Today, press freedom and the safety of journalists are under threat across the globe– including in the United States. As they fight to advance truth and objectivity, far too many governments and non-states actors are increasingly targeting journalists to stop their efforts to promote transparency and accountability and expose abuses of power around the world.
“Since 2006, 808 journalists and media workers have been killed in connection with their collection and dissemination of news and information. Just this week, at least ten reporters were killed in a second-wave suicide bombing in Kabul, a sign of the constant threat against the fundamental elements of a free, secure, and democratic Afghanistan. Last month in Nicaragua, a reporter was killed during a live broadcast while covering anti-government protests. In 2017 alone, 262 journalists remained imprisoned on trumped-up charges related to their reporting. In Burma, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters, were arrested earlier this year due to their reporting on a massacre in a Rohingya village. Journalists covering drug trafficking networks and their influence on government authorities in Mexico remain under constant lethal threat. Beyond threats to journalists themselves, governments across the world from Poland to Sudan continue to pursue legislative efforts to restrict media freedom and free expression, ultimately weakening the ability of citizens to hold their governments accountable.
“Enshrined in our first amendment, the United States has long recognized the importance of freedom of the press. Recognizing that societies where citizens can hold their governments accountable are more stable, secure and prosperous, we have a responsibility to stand up for the fundamental right of free expression and free press. I join the international community in honoring and defending freedom of expression and the brave journalists seeking to tell a story that deserves to be told. On this World Press Freedom Day, the Trump administration must recommit to advancing press freedom—both at home and abroad.”