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Press Freedom Day: Italy joins Group of Friends in supporting women journalists

NEW YORK, MAY 3 – On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Italy joined the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists in its unwavering dedication to the principles of a free, independent, and pluralistic press, and to ensuring the safety and protection of the journalists and media workers worldwide, particularly women journalists. “We recognize that attacks against journalists and media workers not only harm the individuals targeted, but also have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and access to information”, reads the statement posted on the Italian Mission website.

Marking World Press Freedom Day, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres remarked that all our freedoms depend on freedom of the press. This is the “fundamental truth”, said Guterres celebrating this “foundation of democracy and justice” which provides everyone with “the facts needed to shape opinions and speak truth to power.” Freedom of the press,” the UN chief added, represents “the very lifeblood of human rights,” and yet “in every corner of the world” it is under attack, “threatened by disinformation and hate speech that seeks to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between science and conspiracy”.

According to the Italian Permanent Representative to the UN, Maurizio Massari, “four fundamental freedoms are listed in the preamble of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, and it is no coincidence that freedom of expression comes first, ahead of freedom of opinion, freedom from fear and freedom from want: it is the one from which all others descend”.

The statement of the Group of Friends points to “the increase in disinformation and polarizing discourse threatening democracy and press freedom, as do fierce attacks on factual reporting both online and offline – all of which contribute to the erosion of public trust in established political systems and news outlets. Disinformation, attempts to abuse the legal system to silence journalists and media workers, as well as intimidation, harassment and violence against them, their families and their employers, pose a growing threat to the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Truth is threatened by disinformation and hate speech seeking to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between science and conspiracy”.

Women journalists bear a disproportionate burden of being exposed to hate speech and hate crimes, often experiencing online harassment and abuse, threats, and acts of physical or sexual violence simply for doing their job. They play a critical role in promoting freedom of expression and access to information, providing unique perspectives and insights that are essential for inclusive and diverse media coverage. However, the attacks and abuse they face undermine their ability to carry out their work effectively and safely.

The Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists recognizes the unique challenges faced by women journalists and media workers: “We are committed to promoting gender equality and empowering women in the media sector. We support efforts to strengthen legal and institutional frameworks to protect women journalists and media workers from all forms of violence, harassment, and discrimination.

This year, the theme of World Press Freedom Day 2023 is “Shaping a Future of Rights. Freedom of Expression as a driver for all other human rights.”

To read the full statement click here.

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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