World Press Freedom Day

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, Parliamentary State Secretary Silberhorn notes that freedom of expression is a human right

There can be no social progress and no development without freedom of expression.

Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn

02.05.2014 |

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, which will be observed tomorrow, Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, highlighted the great importance of freedom of opinion for de­vel­op­ment. He said, "In our partner coun­tries, we are supporting efforts to develop and uphold the freedom of the press and freedom of opinion. According to the latest estimates of the non-governmental organisation Freedom House, more than half of all people worldwide are still living in coun­tries where the freedom of the media and freedom of opinion are restricted. Free media reporting and the freedom to voice one's opinion without any fear of repression are, in our view, fundamental prerequisites for sus­tain­able, democratic and human de­vel­op­ment."

Since 1994, the United Nations has observed World Press Freedom Day annually on 3 May, drawing attention to the fact that every year, people are threatened, kidnapped or killed because of texts, images or videos they have published. Last year, the freedom of the press was threatened by war and crisis in many coun­tries. In Syria, people who report on the situ­a­tion in the coun­try are attacked from all sides. In South Sudan, small achieve­ments such as the establish­ment of new radio stations are being undone by the new armed conflict that has broken out. In Afghanistan, there have been an increasing number of killings of journalists recently, and in Ukraine, too, it is dangerous to report on the crisis.

People who voice their opinions on the internet or in other media often risk their lives. But corruption, pov­er­ty and a lack of education opportunities are also factors that prevent people from receiving balanced, independent information.

Silberhorn said, "In many coun­tries, rural people in particular have no access to independent information and no say in political decision-making. When decisions are taken, for example, on land rights, market rules or gov­ern­ment investments, stakeholders need to have a chance to obtain information and voice their views. Only then will every individual have a fair chance of political participation."

The Federal Ministry for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (BMZ) is working worldwide to realise the right to freedom of expression and access to information in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. One of its most im­por­tant partners in that endeavour is Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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