The European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitment to promote and protect freedom of expression and of the media worldwide, and to continue to promote the safety of journalists and other media workers.
In a declaration issued on UNESCO World Press Freedom Day, the EU emphasized that diverse and independent media are essential in any democratic society because without freedom of expression and media, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible.
On World Press Freedom Day, which was celebrated May 3, the EU paid tribute to those journalists and media actors who have lost their lives, been imprisoned or otherwise suffered unjust consequences for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The declaration said press freedom is a pillar of any society, noting that modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) are now part of everyday life and provide new opportunities for the fulfillment of human rights and for social and economic development.
Non-discriminatory access to information and freedom of expression for all individuals, both online and offline must be ensured and protected, the declaration stressed.
The internet should remain a single, un-fragmented network, subject to the same laws and norms that apply in other areas of our day-to-day lives where individuals can benefit from their rights and from judicial remedies when those rights are infringed, an EU release said in Monrovia.