The battle to discover the truth and the freedom to tell it is being waged every day by countless journalists around the globe.
In a recent speech on press freedom, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted that last year 71 media workers were killed while on duty and almost 200 were thrown into jail. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Iraq and Syria are first and second on the list of “deadliest countries” for journalists, with 173 and 93 deaths respectively since 1992.
Today, roughly two-thirds of the reporters who die violently are killed not in spite of their profession but because of it. And they are attacked for what they have written, silenced for what they have witnessed, or kidnapped for the leverage that their capture might provide. And in most cases, the perpetrators are never caught.
The truth is that independent media – reporters, broadcasters, photographers, bloggers, even cartoonists – are under constant pressure today, whether physical or political. It is now the 21st century and yet only about one person in six lives in a country where the press can truly be described as free.
"So it is up. . . to the defenders of liberty to close ranks," said Secretary Kerry. "And this begins with the recognition that no government. . .can fairly call itself great if its citizens are not allowed to say what they believe or are denied the right to learn about events and decisions that affect their lives."
"To those who try to intimidate or imprison reporters," said Secretary Kerry, "we need to stand up and say loud and clear that committing journalism, reporting on the truth, is not a crime. It is a badge of honor. It is a public service."