Today marks World Press Freedom Day, an annual celebration instituted by the United Nations in 1993 to raise awareness of press freedom and remind governments of their duties under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, the day is dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of the current global environmental crisis.

Journalists everywhere face challenges in reporting on climate change and other environmental issues. Whether lawsuits, intimidation, arrests, or disinformation campaigns, these challenges are myriad. For instance, journalists and human rights campaigners attending the COP28 Summit held in Dubai last autumn faced surveillance and intimidation. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented arrests of environmental journalists in Iran and Venezuela, among other countries. And in 2022, a Guardian journalist was murdered while on the job in the Brazilian Amazon.

The threats faced by journalists are the same as those faced by ordinary internet users around the world. According to CPJ, there are 320 journalists jailed worldwide for doing their job. And ranked among the top jailers of journalists last year were China, Myanmar, Belarus, Russia, Vietnam, Israel, and Iran; countries in which internet users also face censorship, intimidation, and in some cases, arrest. 

On this World Press Freedom Day, we honor the journalists, human rights defenders, and internet users fighting for a better world. EFF will continue to fight for the right to freedom of expression and a free and open internet for every internet user, everywhere.

Related Issues