Schiff, Chabot Introduce Resolution on World Press Freedom Day Condemning Threats Against Journalists
Today, Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus, marked World Press Freedom Day by introducing a resolution highlighting the importance of an independent press to a healthy democracy, condemning threats against members of the media, and reaffirming the United States’ commitment to promoting and defending freedom of the press at home and around the world.
“A free and independent press is the bedrock of democracy, and we are greatly indebted to the journalists who risk everything to tell the truth and hold power to account,” said Schiff. “This World Press Freedom Day and every day, we stand firmly with members of the media by recognizing their remarkable contributions and sacrifices, and pledging to defend their rights at home and abroad."
“Freedom of the press and open media environments play an essential role in rigorous public debate and holding governments to account. These well established principles are at the very core of democratic self-rule. Every day, journalists around the world put their own lives and livelihoods at risk reporting from war zones and countries with repressive regimes. As authoritarian regimes from Moscow to Beijing seek to silence their critics and whitewash their crimes, the United States must reassert a commitment to a free and independent press everywhere across the globe,” said Chabot.
The resolution condemns repressive and brutal actions against members of the media by state actors – including in China, Russia, and Belarus – and cites recent data that shows the growing threats to press freedom around the world:
- According to the 2021 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, free and independent journalism is blocked or seriously impeded in nearly 73% of countries.
- According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2021 at least 24 journalists were killed for their work, and 293 journalists were in prison – a new record.
- In a survey of 900 female journalists from 125 countries by UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists, 73% said they had experienced online abuse. And a quarter said they had been physically threatened.
In 1993, the United Nations proclaimed May 3rd “World Press Freedom Day,” which serves to honor the principle of press freedom and to pay tribute to journalists around the world who have lost their lives while pursuing stories. The theme for World Press Freedom Day 2022 is ‘‘Journalism under Surveillance,” which spotlights how developments in surveillance, big data collection, and artificial intelligence impact journalism, freedom of expression, and privacy – as well as the associated challenges to media viability.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Reps. David Price (D-N.C.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr (D-Ga.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.).
For the full resolution text, click here.