Before this day is over, two journalists will be imprisoned somewhere in the world. By the end of the week a reporter will be killed.
What could possibly account for the 95 deaths and 875 arrests of news media personnel in 2007? Why is it so dangerous to report news events? The answer is simple: Information! Information is something that some people do not want others to have. Whether it’s corrupt governments, dishonest police, gangs, or non-democratic states, many feel threatened by free speech and public access to information.
Freedom of the press is one of the weapons that tyrants, from warlords to state governments, fear the most. It’s because freedom of the press provides knowledge and knowledge and the truth is power. Even in democratic countries, the truth can sometimes be uncomfortable, so access to information is often over-protected (and, at times, even deliberately hidden).
Freedom of the press, including freedom of expression and access to information, must be maintained. World Press Freedom Day is May 3. It marks not only a day when we thank the press for its professionalism and courage, but also a day that reminds us to be extra vigilant about protecting one of our most fundamental rights.
Chair Alberta Press