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World Press Freedom Day 2012

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Media freedom faces severe pressure across the world. Just in the last year, UNESCO
condemned the killing of 62 journalists who died as a result of their work. These
journalists must not be forgotten and these crimes should not remain unpunished.

 

Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian reporter who regularly wrote for Novaya Gazyeta, one
of the country's few independent journals. In a nation where political corruption is widespread
and exposing the misdeeds of the nation's leaders often has dangerous consequences, Politkovskaya
was a fearless voice whose stories demanded responsibility from Vladimir Putin and his
colleagues while decrying Russia's actions in Chechnya, which she labeled as genocide.
Being one of Russian´s President fiercest critic, Anna Politkovskaja was shot in the lift
of her Moscow home on October 7 in 2006, Vladimir Putin´s 54 Birthday.

The freedom of expression is one of our most important human rights, a right that provides

the foundation for every other freedom and for human dignity. Free, pluralistic and
independent media is essential for its exercise.

 

This is the message of World Press Freedom Day 2012. Media freedom entails the
freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers, as stated in Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This freedom is essential for healthy and
vibrant societies.

 

Change in the Arab world has shown the power of aspirations for rights when
combined with new and old media. Newfound media freedom is promising to
transform societies through greater transparency and accountability. It is opening
new ways to communicate and to share information and knowledge. Powerful new
voices are rising – especially from young people – where they were silent before.
This is why this year’s World Press Freedom Day is centred on the theme of New
Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.