Amid a worldwide fight against the novel coronavirus, the National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute are joining people around the globe in commemorating World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
The motto for this year’s 27th World Press Freedom Day, organized by UNESCO, is “Journalism without Fear or Favor.”
During the annual commemoration, organizations and individuals celebrate basic principles of press freedom, evaluate the state of press freedom worldwide, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives.
“Nearly 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘the only security of all is in a free press.’ His words stand today as an apt reminder of the crucial link between press freedom and democracy,” said National Press Club President Michael Freedman. “In the midst of the current crisis, our reporters on the front lines reinforce every hour of every day why journalism matters.”
Yet journalists across the globe continue to be under attack. In dozens of countries, including the United States, journalists are decried as purveyors of “fake news.” In many parts of the world, they are harassed, threatened, and jailed for indeterminate sentences.
During a global health crisis that has killed scores of thousands and left economic devastation in its wake, access to accurate and complete information is even more important than ever. Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index shows that the number of countries where journalists are considered safe is on the decline. In the time of coronavirus, the impediments to press freedom threaten to be even greater.
“Amid eroding press freedoms and threats to their physical safety, many journalists are under siege, yet they are more important than ever as the world faces a historic crisis,” said Angela Greiling Keane, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the club’s non-profit affiliate.
The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists and represents some 3,000 reporters, editors, and professional communicators worldwide. The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.