„In today’s interconnected world, confronted by increasing number of humanitarian, economic and political crises, free access to information is more important than ever. We are therefore most concerned by the constant erosion of press freedom worldwide.
According to various reports, freedom of the press has now reached its lowest level in 12 years, with setbacks in every region of the world. Only 13% of the world’s population live in countries where the media are considered to be free, while intimidation and physical violence against journalists have been on the rise. In many countries new legislation is being introduced that reduces the space for journalists on security grounds. Measures taken to prevent and fight terrorism are crucial but should not restrict our fundamental freedoms.
The European Parliament remains firmly attached to the principles of freedom of expression and information as a basic element of a democratic and pluralist society. Considering that the free dissemination of information and ideas is one of the most effective means of promoting understanding and tolerance, the 2016 theme of World Press Freedom Day – Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right! – is most appropriate.
The EU must continue to lead on international efforts to guarantee a press free of harassment and censorship. It must also enhance its support for universal access to independent information across the world as it contributes to exposing human rights violations and to making governments accountable. We must do more to protect those who, on too many occasions, are the only ones to raise their voices to denounce the abuses against the most vulnerable”.