Today we celebrate the contributions that journalists make to the struggle for human dignity, liberty and prosperity, and we also celebrate the enduring principle enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that all people have the right to freely express their views, no matter who they are, where they live, or what those views may be.
Over the past year, these principles have come to the forefront as places throughout the Middle East and North Africa embrace change. Voice by voice, text by text, Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and many others have dared to say what they believe and stand up for their own rights. Many others have dared to report on what they see happening, even when their lives were at risk.
But these challenges are not limited to just one region. Every year, dozens of journalists are killed, beaten, and threatened, while hundreds of others languish in prisons for exercising their right to free expression. Their imprisonment and intimidation is a global injustice. When a free media is under attack anywhere, all human rights are under attack everywhere.
That is why the United States joins its global partners in calling for the release of all imprisoned journalists in every country across the globe and for the end to intimidation.
Let us honor the many brave men and women who risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us informed, to keep governments accountable and societies more democratic, prosperous and successful. And let us continue to champion those who stand for media freedom as a powerful force for progress. Thank you for what you are doing.