This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 21 May 2020.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) thanks Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) for leading a bipartisan coalition of 13 senators in introducing a resolution to celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day. The resolution was introduced May 20.
“RSF is grateful for the leadership of Senators Menendez and Rubio in ensuring this important, symbolic resolution was released to commemorate World Press Freedom Day,” said Dokhi Fassihian, Executive Director of RSF USA. “The commitment of the US government to the protection of journalists and the promotion of press freedom internationally is critical, given the United States’ prominent role in global politics. We applaud the introduction of this resolution, especially under the extraordinary circumstances brought about by coronavirus, and encourage further congressional support for this resolution.”
The resolution highlights data and research from press freedom organizations, including RSF, that shows the extent to which press freedom is being threatened throughout the world. It refers to foreign governments’ use of emergency laws, censorship and imprisonment to restrict the press from reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution also highlights the repression and violence afflicting the press in nations including China, the Philippines, Mexico, Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia, where journalists are being censored, attacked, imprisoned, forcibly disappeared and even killed due to their work. The resolution raises concerns about the continued detention of American journalist Austin Tice, held in Syria since August 2012, and the impunity surrounding the October 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi at the behest of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The resolution concludes by emphasizing the importance of US leadership on these issues globally, including improving the US government’s response to violations and threats to press freedom, and calls on the President and Secretary of State to urge foreign governments to uphold this same responsibility.
The Senate Foreign Relations Commitee’s press release introducing this resolution can be found here.
The United States is ranked 45th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
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Source: MEDIA FEED