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U.N. secretary general speaks out about press freedom


In honor of today’s World Press Freedom Day designation, United Nations Secretary General H.E. António Guterres published a video message this week in which he spoke out about the importance of press freedom at a time when “civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.”  

According to Guterres, “A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights. No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.”

Guterres went on to state that “facts, not falsehoods, should guide people as they choose their representatives.” Guterres also suggested technological advances in how information is disseminated have been used to mislead the public and “fuel violence and hatred.”

We here in the NMSU Department of Journalism and Media Studies staunchly support press freedom, and we work hard to ensure our students know and understand basic rights and protections afforded to journalists under the law.

As educators, we also work tirelessly to teach our students about the importance of truth, accuracy, fairness and professionalism in their efforts to report the news and ultimately tell stories. 

In 1993, the U.N. General Assembly designated May 3 as World Press Freedom Day. The intended focus of this designation has always been to raise awareness about the importance of press freedom in open societies.

According to UNESCO, nearly 100 journalists were killed worldwide in 2018 and hundreds more are in prison.

Watch Guterres’ entire video message below.