What if we lived in a world...
Where the president or other leaders -- not editors -- decided what news we could know. Where investigative journalists were jailed for “insulting” public officials. Where reports of conflict were censored.
Where public debate of ethnic and racial questions was banned. Where an international media board dictated how much time or space an issue warranted. Where cyber-authorities determined what news and information could be transmitted on the World Wide Web.
These are real threats:
According to Freedom House, only 21 percent of the world’s people live in countries with a fully free press.
The remaining nations hold a majority in every intergovernmental organization where press freedom issues are considered.
- As a result of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union's two part World Summit on the Information Society (Dec 2003 in Geneva and Nov 2005 in Tunis), where some progress was made in numerous preparatory conferences held at various locations around the world and in which WPFC actively participated, an Internet Governance Forum will be established that will make recommendations regarding the future of the Internet. WPFC will participate to the extent we are allowed to assure that this "new medium" becomes ever more free for the exchange of ideas, news and opinions. While freedom of the press and freedom of expression were referred to in final documents of both Summits, there remains sufficient potentially restrictive language to merit our continued involvement and vigilance.
We are concerned that governments could adopt content rules for cyberspace that would restrict Internet news and might set precedents for limiting traditional news media.
- Representatives of national press councils, mainly government-sanctions, continue to press for establishment of a “global press council.”
- Drawing on intergovernmental provisions, country after country is drafting restrictive new press laws.
- Russia is seeking international support for “rules of professional behavior of journalists who cover acts of terrorism and counter-terrorist operations.” A draft called for journalists “not (to) take any independent actions, prohibited by the law enforcement bodies.”
- NGO groups are mobilizing to urge revisiting discredited code-word proposals for restriction such as a “right to communicate” and “the contribution of communication to the democratization of society.”
The World Press Freedom Committee works to oppose such ideas. The World Press Freedom Committee is:
- The only free-press group primarily focused on threats arising at intergovernmental organizations.
- The only organization of its kind working unceasingly to unite free-press groups in a common global front.
Join the Fight
The freedom we enjoy is fragile and too rare. Fewer than half of the countries of the world have completely free news. Arrests, arbitrary laws and other harassments continue.
States seek support for such actions at gatherings where the WPFC’s sometimes is the only voice raised for a free press. Restrictions are beaten back in one place, but crop up in another.
Making gains is difficult. But it can be done. To secure these gains, and extend them, a free press needs help. The WPFC is providing it. With your support, the effort can continue.