Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell, on behalf of the European Union, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2020
May 4, 2020
On World Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the essential role of journalism in upholding online and offline freedom of expression in democratic societies and fostering transparency and accountability.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought the importance of the work of the press into sharp relief. In times of uncertainty, more than ever, access to reliable fact-checked information, that is free from undue interference and influence, is crucial and contributes to a more resilient society. It is a matter of concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used in some countries as a pretext for imposing undue restrictions on freedom of the press.
Journalists are pivotal in facilitating the debate on how societies can prepare better for challenges as those we are facing and ultimately how they can become safer, more prosperous and more sustainable. Journalists must be able to work freely. Today, perhaps more than ever, freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democratic societies, which can thrive only if citizens have access to reliable information and can make informed choices. Journalism helps to detect and counter disinformation.