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Press freedom is cornerstone of democratic societies: UNESCO Chief Audrey Azoulay on World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day was observed across the world on May 3 which was officially coordinated by the UNESCO.

The released message from Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion read, "Press freedom is the cornerstone of democratic societies. All States, all nations, are strengthened by information, debate and the exchange of opinions. At  a  time  of  growing  discourse  of  mistrust  and  delegitimization  of  the  press  and  journalism,  it  is  essential  that  we  guarantee  freedom  of  opinion  through  the  free  exchange of ideas and information based on factual truths."

Reminding about the theme of this year "media for democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation", she showed concern about the 'dangers of instrumentalization, combined with practices such as obstruction, harassment, unlawful arrest and even murder, which prevent journalists from doing their work freely.'

Quoting the UNESCO observatory record of 99 journalists being killed in 2018, and a total of 1,307 journalists killed between 1994 and 2018, she observed, "Impunity  for  crimes  committed  against  journalists  is  a  threat  that  affects  all  our  societies. This threat requires us to be constantly vigilant. We must act together to protect the freedom of expression and safety of journalists. The  existence  of  free,  pluralistic  and  independent  media  is  a  prerequisite  for  the  proper functioning of democracies. Independent journalism provides an opportunity to present facts  to  citizens  and  to  form  an  opinion."

She urged the   Member   States,   as   well   as   civil   society   and   professional   organizations,  to  celebrate  press  freedom  and  the  right  of  access  to  information,  which are essential to any democratic society.

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