Freedom of expression is both essential and fragile.
Sadly, the killing of Charlie Hebdo’s editorial staff in France on Wednesday 7 January 2015 exposed just how vulnerable it is.
Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of modern democracies, but it is also an obvious embarrassment as are its daily promoters, the journalists.
Currently there is no place in the world where freedom of expression is not in jeopardy. Even Luxembourg has sought to silence public interest information by recently charging a colleague involved in exposing the worldwide tax avoidance scam known as LuxLeaks. China, Iran, Eritrea, Mexico and Cuba are among the worst jailers of journalists in the world. In 2015, over 200 colleagues – men and women – are behind bars.
Unfortunately, journalists remain under fire in Yemen, Syria and Ukraine for going about their work. 45 journalists have already died this year, simply for being journalists.
The bloodbath has to end!
Freedom of expression cannot be killed. It is deeply embedded in every one of us, journalists and trade unionists. At the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the first world organisation of our profession, we know this as well as anyone.
On 3 May, across the world, the IFJ and its affiliates will be on the frontline celebrating World Press Freedom Day. Freedom of expression guarantees the public quality, complete, free and independent information. This is our mission.
Deputy General Secretary
International Federation of Journalists