Press release - 382(2011)

World Press Freedom Day

'Democracy and political rights can benefit from media freedom,' says Mats Johansson

Strasbourg, 29.04.2011 - “World Press Freedom Day is a moment to celebrate the right to freedom of expression and information through the media as one of the most fundamental political rights for every individual and for the functioning of democratic societies,” said Mats Johansson (Sweden, EPP/CD), the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) standing rapporteur on media freedom.

"Recent months have shown to the world the power of the free word, and the world has changed and continues to do so. In an era of media based on the Internet and mobile phones, censorship has become virtually impossible. Non-democratic governments, corrupt practices and violations of political rights cannot be kept in the darkness of oblivion any more,” he added.

“At the same time, I deeply regret that alarming numbers of journalists are imprisoned or attacked physically in Europe, and that laws are passed which aim at restricting the media. It is no coincidence that the free word is targeted and threatened by many regimes. This makes it all the more important that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is respected, in order to ensure that democracy and political rights can benefit from media freedom. Therefore, governments and parliaments in Europe should do more today – as we celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2011,” Mats Johansson concluded.

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