THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Owensboro, Kentucky) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 3, 2000 STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, I want to salute journalists in every country who dedicate their lives -- and risk their lives -- to increase our understanding of the world and to shine a spotlight in support of truth and accountability.
This past year around the world, from Colombia to Chechnya to Sierra Leone, more than 30 journalists were killed, many more were imprisoned, and more than 100 nations still exert forms of harassment that inhibit press freedom. Right now, governments in Iran and Serbia are cracking down on journalists, closing news organizations, and trying to block a public dialogue that is so essential to human rights and freedom.
As a nation long blessed with liberty, the United States has a responsibility to stand with those who are upholding the values we cherish, to speak up for press freedom, and to speak out against repression -- so that journalists can do their jobs without risk or restraint, and citizens have the knowledge they need to exercise the power of self-government.