Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed their World Press Freedom Resolution, S. Res. 447.
“The unanimous passage of this resolution is especially important in light of recent attacks on journalists in eastern Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan, as well as the recent sentencing of three journalists in Egypt,” said Senator Casey. “We must continue to highlight this issue, and I urge the full Senate to support passage of this resolution in short order.”
“All over the world, press freedom is being attacked by repressive governments that want to cover up their cruel treatment of their citizens,” said Senator Rubio. “Promoting a free and independent press around the world is an important U.S. foreign policy goal, because independent journalists hold governments accountable to their people and to universally recognized human rights. The full Senate should pass this resolution immediately and send a clear message that the U.S. stands with independent journalists being persecuted around the world.”
Journalists the world over put their lives at risk to deliver news and information every day. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists 211 journalists were jailed worldwide in 2013, the second worst year on record. Many more are missing or have been exiled from their home countries. Attacks and intimidation like this can stifle essential flows of information and limit the scope of our insight into events on the ground.
The World Press Freedom Resolution seeks to condemn restrictions on the freedom of the press around the globe and highlight the issue of impunity for perpetrators of attacks on journalists. Using statistics carefully collected by Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, the resolution condemns those countries that seek to crush the lawful dissemination of information by attacking, imprisoning, and in some cases, killing journalists. The resolution reaffirms the United States’ dedication to protecting press freedom to support democracy, mitigate conflict, and promote good governance. It also calls on the President and Secretary of State to improve the means by which the U.S. government identifies, publicizes, and responds to threats against freedom of the press, and urges foreign governments to transparently investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks against journalists.