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As World Press Freedom Day 2014 approaches, a new wave of anti-media violence and state-backed repression

World Press Freedom Day on 3 May each year is meant to signal the world’s determination to protect press freedom as a basic pre-condition of an open and free society.

The AEJ is gravely concerned that this year has seen a further escalation of violent repression of journalists’ work and attempts to stifle free speech in many countries. Those include the attempted assassination of the leading Pakistani TV journalist Hamid Mir on 19 April (http://www.geo.tv/article-145640-Hamid-Mir-issues-first-statement-after-being-attacked), abductions and assaults against journalists in Ukraine (http://www.cpj.org/2014/04/ two-journalists-freed-one- still-in-custody-in-east.php), oppressive and undemocratic moves to censor the Internet and limit free expression in both Russia and Turkey (http://cpj.org/2014/04/turkey- should-reverse-all-anti-press- measures-and.php) the unwarrranted jailing of Al Jazeera and other journalists in Egypt (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/ middleeast/2014/04/al-jazeera- journalists-trial-adjourned- again-201442216325392221.html) and evidence of further erosions of media freedom and the rule of law in other countries.

The AEJ is actively engaged in efforts through the Council of Europe to set up more effective concrete mechanisms to counter this wave of repression. On 19 May the AEJ is taking part in the open Roundtable meeting of civil society organisations in Strasbourg, hosted by the Council of Europe, which is meant to prepare the way for those innovations. Journalists’ freedom to report without fear of violence or state harassment will also be the focus of a 500-person conference to mark World Press Freedom Day at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on 5-6 May ( MondayTuesday).

The major themes for WPFDay this year are the media’s importance in development; the link between the safety of journalists and the rule of law; and the sustainability and integrity of journalism. Read more