U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today commemorating World Press Freedom Day. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"In the United States and other free nations, we depend on a free press to inform the people and place a check on the power of government by making it accountable to its citizens. Whenever and wherever the rights of the press are threatened, the rights of the people are sure to be in the ruling regime's crosshairs as well.
"Year after year in nations such as Cuba and North Korea, people are kept in near complete darkness about what is going on in their country and in the world. In many nations, such as Russia, journalists are targeted for the perceived threat they pose to those in power. Other dictatorial regimes, including those in the Latin American nations of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador, are rapidly eroding press freedoms as they advance their assault on democracy.
"The United States must continue to stand up for the rights of free people in the face of despotic regimes around the world who pull out every stop to keep them imprisoned. Promoting and protecting the rights of a free and independent media must remain a priority in our efforts to stem the rise of tyranny."