Sunday, May 03, 2009


The United States is proud to join the international community in celebrating World Press Freedom Day and the contributions that journalist make to advancing human dignity, liberty, and prosperity.

We live in a world where the free flow of information and ideas is a powerful force for progress. Independent print, broadcast, online media outlets, and Internet blogs are more than sources of news and opinion.

They also expose abuses of power, fighting corruption, challenge assumptions, and provide constructive outlets for new ideas and dissent.

Wherever media freedom is in jeopardy, all other human rights are also under threat. A free media is essential to democracy and it fosters transparency and accountability, both of which are prerequisites for democracy.

Those who seek to abuse power and spread corruption view media freedom and internet blogs as a threat.

Instead of supporting an open press, they attempt to control or silence independent voices.

In other countries the methods they use against news organizations, internet and journalists range from restrictive laws and regulations to censorship, violence, imprisonment and even murder in foreign countries.

Such tactics are not new, and cannot go unanswered.

We are especially concerned about the citizens from our own country currently under detention abroad: individuals such as Roxana Saberi in Iran, and Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea.

I want to affirm the United States strong commitment to all forms of media freedom and freedom of speech worldwide.

We will champion this cause through our diplomatic efforts and through our exchange and assistance programs. We will work in partnership with non-governmental organizations and directly with members of the media.

And we will stand with those courageous men and women who face persecution for exercising and defending the right of media freedom and freedom of speech.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC