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Journalists recognized on World Press Day

"Journalism is a foundational pillar of our democracy." ~ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | "People need a strong and independent press to have access to reliable information." ~ NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

Wednesday May 4, 2022 | NATIONAL

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

World Press Freedom Day on May 3 was recognized by the Prime Minister and NDP Leader in statements as posted online.

This year’s theme is Journalism Under Digital Siege.

In the United States yesterday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said about World Press Freedom Day: “The United States has a vital stake in promoting the right to freedom of expression, including a free press, at home and also around the world.  The free flow of information, ideas, opinions, including dissenting ones, is essential to inclusive and tolerant societies.”

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UNESCO says World Press Freedom Day “…acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.”

Island Social Trends has been contributing to local and regional journalism since 2008 in the south Vancouver Island area. Island Social Trends offers a journalism scholarship locally (to students in the local SD62 school district) as a way to contribute to the continuance of local journalism skills for youth.

Statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on World Press Freedom Day:

“Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we honour the many journalists here in Canada and around the world who work tirelessly to seek out and report on the truth. We also reaffirm our longstanding commitment to the freedom of the press – a foundational pillar of our democracy – and recognize those who have been injured or lost their lives defending freedom of the press.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Windsor on May 3, 2022.

“While Canada enjoys a strong and free press, we know that this is not the case everywhere – many journalists face censorship, intimidation, violence, imprisonment, and false arrests. This year alone, many journalists were killed and hundreds imprisoned in the line of duty around the world. This serves as reminder that we must continue to advocate for journalists and for a strong and free press.

“As Russia continues its illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, we thank the reporters on the front lines who are risking their lives to deliver accurate information to the world. In the age of disinformation and misinformation, independent, fact-based reporting is vital. We must all come together to support the work of journalists and double down in the fight against disinformation.

“The Government of Canada is supporting media freedom at home and abroad. As co-chair of the Media Freedom Coalition and as 2022 Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition, Canada is working with international partners to defend media freedom. We are also addressing the challenges and the spread of disinformation online by giving people the tools to recognize disinformation and working to build a healthy information ecosystem, including through the Digital Citizen Initiative and new investments in Budget 2022 to fight disinformation. Canada is also providing $13.4 million over five years to bolster the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), which strengthens coordination between countries in identifying, and responding to, foreign threats to democracy, including state-sponsored disinformation.

“On this World Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the many journalists who have been injured, or lost their lives defending freedom of the press. We recognize the journalists risking their lives every day in treacherous environments – including on the frontlines of wars – to report freely on matters of public interest. I encourage all Canadians to recognize the important work of journalists and media workers, and I thank them for their relentless pursuit of the truth and their commitment to share those truths with us.”

Statement by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh:

“Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we recognize and celebrate the role journalists play in building a free and open society. Journalists and the media play a critical role in Canada and around the world by working to keep those in power in check, helping to build a free and more open society and ensuring people get quality information.

jagmeet singh
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Ottawa, May 3, 2022. [CPAC]

The main theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day is journalism under digital siege. This year’s theme is about recognizing and addressing the multiple ways journalism is endangered by surveillance and digital attacks.
In Canada, while we have a strong appreciation and respect for the freedom of the press, we also have work to do. The pandemic has shown that, now more than ever, people need a strong and independent press to have access to reliable information. Our media is exposed to threats which create vulnerability, whether through cyber-attacks which harm the investigative work of journalists or unfair competition from web giants who take advertising revenues and make it difficult for smaller, regional news outlets to compete.
For the 7 years that the Liberals have been in power, they have been outspoken about protecting our news media, but instead of taking action, they have chosen to protect the profits of the web giants – buying more advertising for their personal benefit.
The NDP used our power to pressure the government to finally table a bill that forces web giants to pay their fair share to journalists for the use of their content. It is a step in the right direction to catch up with other countries that are showing more leadership.
New Democrats will continue to support the work of journalists and fight for a safer digital future for journalists. Today, we thank all journalists in Canada and worldwide, who investigate injustice and shine a light on the stories that matter.”