As the world marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, President Joe Biden has spoken out in honor of the journalists, reporters, and media workers who bravely pursue the truth. In a statement released on May 3, he renewed his pledge to hold accountable those who seek to silence these essential voices in transparent and trustworthy governance.
Biden emphasized that a free press is a pillar of democracy, allowing governments and societies to be self-critical and self-correcting. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution enshrines the freedom of speech and the press, acknowledging the crucial role that journalists play in informing the public and holding those in power accountable.
The President expressed concern for the risks that journalists around the world face in their pursuit of the truth. He mentioned Evan Gershkovich and Austin Tice, whose families have endured the pain of not knowing their whereabouts since they went missing while reporting in Syria. Biden pointed out that in many places, autocrats and their enablers continue to repress a free and independent media through censorship, retribution, threats, lawsuits, harassment, disinformation, detention, and physical attacks.
However, Biden praised the courage of journalists who have shown time and again that they will not be silenced or intimidated. He reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting journalists and their safety. The President revealed that more resources than ever before are being provided to support digital and physical security training for journalists. The United States is also partnering with other countries to launch a new fund that will provide defense counsel to journalists. Additionally, funding is being provided to the Promoting Information Integrity and Resilience Initiative, which will help support a free and independent media, strengthen global information integrity, and help journalists do their jobs safely.
Biden called on everyone to stand with journalists around the world and to speak out against those who wish to silence them. He stressed the importance of supporting a free press, which is essential to democracy and democracies everywhere. The President’s statement is a powerful reminder of the critical role that journalists play in informing the public and holding those in power accountable.