The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is reinforcing the importance of the free flow of accurate, timely information, said U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Robert Destro:
“A free and unrestricted press plays a huge role in providing information, and holding governments accountable [for their efforts]. Nations that allow free and independent journalism are more transparent, safer, and better-positioned to defeat this pandemic.”
Unfortunately, some governments are censoring public health information and using restrictive measures to prevent professional and citizen journalists from reporting on COVID-19 and governments’ response to it at this critical time.
“The United States,” said Assistant Secretary Destro, “calls for an immediate end to such restrictions.”
"Such censorship poses an unquestionable risk to public health. The free flow of information and ideas helps ensure that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves and for their families to stay safe during the pandemic. A free press is vital to this process.
On World Press Freedom Day -- and everyday -- we commend independent media throughout the world for their commitment to remaining engaged in their difficult work -- often at risk to their safety -- to ensure we're all informed. We continue to press for the release of journalists jailed for reporting and we call for those who commit crimes against journalists to be held accountable.”
“The United States continues to stand with like-minded governments, civil society activists, and other stakeholders to promote the ability of journalists everywhere to exercise their freedom of expression without fear of reprisal,” said Assistant Secretary Destro. “An informed world is a free one.”