Secretary Pompeo called for the immediate release of journalists jailed for their professional activities.
US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo delivered an address on the occasion of world press freedom day, which is celebrated on Sunday. The head of the State Department noted the particular importance of the work of media employees in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and called on countries around the world to release journalists who were imprisoned because of their work.
“On world press freedom day… we emphasize the important role of independent media in promoting the open exchange of information and ideas that is so necessary for free, prosperous and secure democratic societies,” the message reads.
“This year, when the world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the freedom of both professional and citizen journalists to report what they see and hear, as well as to express their opinions openly, is of particular importance,” the document continues.
“Today… we learn that some States deliberately spread misinformation, censor accurate and useful information, and aggressively restrict the ability of independent journalists to serve the public,” Pompeo said, citing as examples the arrests of journalists and the blocking of news and websites due to criticism of the official response of the authorities to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The Secretary of state called for an immediate end to such censorship.
“Many journalists work at the risk of their lives and freedom, not only in areas of conflict and natural disasters, as well as in regions most affected by the pandemic but also in places where they face the threat of arbitrary detention or violence,” Pompeo said. – We call on all States to release journalists who have been jailed for their work and to bring to justice those who commit crimes against them.”
Pompeo welcomed the work of civil society organizations that work for journalists and private sector representatives who support the sustainability of independent media.