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                     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.