Spindelegger: “No pluralistic society without freedom of the press and the media”
Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger on the World Press Freedom Day
Vienna, 3 May 2012 – Freedom of the press and the media is a central element of any pluralistic society. National governments, and international organisations and civil society alike, must stand up against any restrictions, that are not justified in a democracy, imposed on this value worthy of protection“, Spindelegger said on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.
The consumption and generation of information has become easier than ever before thanks to the progress in information and communication technologies. Journalists, bloggers and other activists in the web use these modern means of communication to point their fingers to injustice and wrongs and to fight for more freedom and transparency. “However, at the same time the risk increases that governments, too, avail themselves of these technologies to curtail the freedom of the press and the media”, Spindelegger warned and referred to the joint declaration of the “Coalition for Freedom Online” on today’s Wold Press Freedom Day. Austria is a founding member of this group of like-minded states, initiated by the Netherlands, that advocate the protection of human rights on the Internet.
What is particularly alarming is the increasing number of cases of violence against journalists worldwide. “Austria condemns any type of repression against journalists and calls upon all states to decidedly hold the people behind such assaults accountable”, Spindelegger said. “The safety of journalists is a supporting pillar of freedom of the press. Measures that silence journalists negate the fundamental right of all people to receive and distribute information”, Spindelegger continued.
Defending the freedom of the press and the media plays a central role in Austria’s work in the field of human rights. “Austria uses its membership in the UN Human Rights Council between 2011 and 2014 to get the protection of journalists firmly rooted in the international agenda. We aim to shift the focus to putting an end to impunity and preventing further attacks. We are planning to start an initiative on this matter in the Human Rights Council in the course of this year”, Spindelegger concluded.
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