Today we mark World Press Freedom Day, an annual occasion to recognize, honor, and underscore the essential role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democratic principles.
We take this opportunity to express our solidarity with independent media in all corners of the world, recall journalists who have lost their lives and sacrificed their freedom or personal well-being, and recognize and honor those who fight against repressive regimes that target the press.
In the United States, we hold press freedom as a fundamental component of our democratic fabric, enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution.
However, in many countries, those who try to exercise their freedom of expression face repression and harassment, from financially crippling lawsuits to imprisonment and death.
Journalists are increasingly confronted by the failure of governments to protect this freedom, and even as technology increases the possibilities for innovative expression online, the space for free media is shrinking.
The United States remains firmly committed to promoting and protecting press freedom, and to supporting United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) dedication to freedom of expression across the globe.
We call upon all governments to take the necessary steps to foster an environment where journalists can operate freely, independently, and without fear, and to release all imprisoned journalists wherever they are held.