Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



UN Secretary-General warns of growing threats to media freedom

Photojournalists for Greek and international media put their cameras down as they protest over the severe injury of a colleague by police, outside the Public Order Ministry in   -  
Copyright © africanews
Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Press freedom

On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a warning about the escalating dangers faced by journalists worldwide.

Speaking passionately about the critical role of journalism in informing and engaging the public, Guterres emphasized the urgent need to safeguard press freedom and protect media professionals.

".... The United Nations recognizes the invaluable work of journalists and media professionals to ensure that the public is informed and engaged. Without facts, we cannot fight mis- and disinformation. Without accountability, we will not have strong policies in place. Without press freedom, we won't have any freedom. A free press is not a choice, but a necessity" said Antonio Guterres.

Guterres underscored the indispensable role of journalists and media practitioners in upholding truth and accountability. He stressed that without access to accurate information, combating misinformation and disinformation becomes impossible.

"Media freedom is under siege. And environmental journalism is an increasingly dangerous profession. Dozens of journalists covering illegal mining, logging, poaching and other environmental issues have been killed in recent decades. In the vast majority of cases, no one has been held to account. UNESCO reports that in the past 15 years, there have been some 750 attacks on journalists and news outlets reporting on environmental issues. And the frequency of such attacks is rising...." he added. 

Acknowledging the significant risks faced by environmental journalists, Guterres lamented the increasing peril associated with covering issues such as illegal mining, logging, and poaching. He revealed that over recent decades, dozens of journalists reporting on environmental issues have been killed, with perpetrators largely escaping justice. According to UNESCO, there have been approximately 750 attacks on journalists and news outlets covering environmental issues in the past 15 years, indicating a troubling trend of violence targeting media professionals.

Guterres urged all nations to recognize the gravity of the situation and take decisive action to halt the assault on media freedom. 

He emphasized that World Press Freedom Day serves as a critical reminder of the fundamental importance of a free press in democratic societies. Established by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on May 3rd as an opportunity to reaffirm the principles of press freedom and advocate for the protection of journalists worldwide.