Bright blue background and drawing of white dove with wings encircling the words World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day – May 3 – is not very well known, but freedom of the press is certainly a concern nowadays.

The United States now has the distinction of being one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the word. Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2019 documented that 63 journalists were killed while doing their jobs during 2018 – a statistic 15 percent higher than the year before. The report states that U.S. journalists are subjected to an unprecedented number of death threats and blames much of it on Trump’s accusations about “fake news” and calling journalists “enemies” of the people.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told NPR that reporters in the U.S have endured attacks by police and protestors, are targeted at the border and in other countries. All over the world, an increasing number of journalists are murdered, falsely imprisoned, and subject to violence. The CPJ reports that more than 260 journalists are in prison, the highest ever recorded.

Julian Assange’s removal from the Ecuadorian embassy and his possible prosecution under the Espionage Act is troubling to press freedom advocates as well, according to the CPJ. The Intercept warns that Assange has lost his diplomatic refuge, allowing the U.S. Department of Justice to potentially extradite and try him for working with Chelsea Manning to hack government computers. The CPJ are also worried that if he is prosecuted for publishing classified information it will set a “devastating legal precedent for U.S. news organizations that regularly publish such material.”

World Press Freedom Day 2019’s theme is Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation. Of course the Free Press agrees, being one of the original news organizations to point out how our own U.S. elections have been rigged through the years. We support freedom of the press, Julia Assange, Chelsea Manning, and all journalists worldwide fighting to speak truth to power.

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