World Press Freedom Day, May 3, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a groundbreaking statement on media freedom. The Declaration outlines the fundamental importance of fostering and advocating free and independent media in building a strong, open and democratic society.
Windhoek’s words in 1991 were repeated in Moscow later that year, with all OSCE members saying, “Independent media is essential to a free and open society and an accountable government system, with human rights. We recognize that it is especially important in protecting basic freedoms. “
Unfortunately, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration and the OSCE promise agreed in Moscow in 1991, we must admit that there are too many violations of media freedom throughout the OSCE region. We have been discussing many of them at the Standing Board in recent months. Next week, the Press Freedom Representative (RFoM) will undoubtedly highlight some of her concerns.
As an OSCE member, it is important to continue to consider how we can help protect the freedom of the media in the region. This means calling for a violation of media freedom, both in public, including the OSCE Forum, and in our bilateral exchanges. It also means supporting the important work of RFoM by addressing the concerns she raises and ensuring that her office is well funded.
Britain has a long history of strong media explanations. In the UK, we recognize the importance of enabling journalists to reach their full potential without fear or favor. We also recognize that many journalists working in the UK today face both abuse and threats to personal safety.
That’s why the UK first published it on March 9, this year. National Action Plan for the Safety of JournalistsDelivered through collaborations between government, journalism, police, and civil society representatives.
This plan acknowledges that there is work we must do to fully understand the scale of the problem, but we also recognize that there is already much we can do to get started working on the problem. In the coming weeks and months, we would like to agree to the National Action Plan and share our hiring experience.
The World Press Freedom Index is a valuable tool for assessing media around the world and addressing the threats faced by journalists. The UK carefully reviews its findings and works with the authors of Reporters Without Borders to promote media freedom and protect journalists both inside and outside the UK. In the recently published 2021 index, the UK has risen from 35th to 33rd.
We are pleased that the RSF has recognized our efforts to improve the situation in the UK in editing the index, but we recognize that there is no room for complacency. So while determined to protect and promote media freedom globally, the UK is aware of its own shortcomings and is working to improve the domestic media environment.
Thirty years after the discussions in Windhoek and Moscow, the UK continues to uphold the principles set out in the texts of these conferences and uphold freedom of expression and freedom of the media in the OSCE region.
Thank you very much
World Press Freedom Day: British Statement
SourceWorld Press Freedom Day: British Statement