EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, called on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day to condemn violence against journalists and take steps to improve their safety.
"Today we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day in a difficult context for journalism. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are under threat around the world. Attacks on the media and journalists are attacks on democracy and against the freedom of all of us. We pay tribute to all the journalists who, in Europe and in the world, lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. We call on all States to condemn violence against journalists, to take steps to improve the safety of journalists, with special attention to women journalists, and to bring to justice the perpetrators and instigators of this violence," said Mogherini according to a statement issued by the EU in Lebanon.
"The European Union is founded on respect for the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as on the freedom and pluralism of the media enshrined in the EU's Charter of Rights. Freedom of the press plays a vital role in promoting good governance, transparency and accountability. Independent journalism is essential for holding states accountable and monitoring democratic processes. Free, diverse and independent media, both online and offline, are the pillars of a pluralistic and open society and their responsibility is great: to provide the public with verified and correct information," she said.
"Respect for freedom of expression is embedded in all EU development programs and policies. The EU has developed legislation, policies and instruments to enhance media freedom across the Union and to improve transparency, credibility and diversity of online information. The EU will continue to fund targeted projects in third world countries so as to improve the quality of journalism, access to public information and freedom of expression."
"We will systematically condemn violence against journalists, we will oppose (...) any legislation, regulation or political pressure that limits the freedom of expression, and we will take concrete steps to prevent and respond to attacks against journalists and bloggers, including providing emergency assistance to protect critically endangered human rights defenders, sometimes through relocation," Said the High Representative of the European Union.
"Today, we reaffirm the EU's commitment to continue to defend and promote the freedoms of opinion and expression as rights that must be exercised everywhere by everyone, on the basis of the principles of equality, non-discrimination and universality, by any media, within our borders and beyond," she concluded.
Source: National News Agency