Statement regarding World Press Freedom Day

Date: 03.05.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.53
Category: BBC Worldwide
BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks has issued the following statement regarding World Press Freedom Day.

“On this 20th anniversary World Press Freedom Day we pay tribute to all the journalists who have been killed or injured in the course of their work. In the years since the first World Press Freedom Day in 1993, digital technology has revolutionised the way journalists communicate their stories. In many ways, journalism has been democratised and the media can no longer be easily controlled. However in some parts of the world we have seen serious and disturbing attempts to impede or prevent reporting by free and independent media within states, across borders and through the internet.

"Intimidation and threats of physical violence are rising, and 2012 was the deadliest year on record, with UNESCO condemning the killing of 121 journalists worldwide. In too many cases, journalists are killed and governments do little, or nothing. The BBC supports the creation of proper international frameworks to ensure that journalists are protected, and together with many other news media organisations we have publicly welcomed the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity which was initiated in November last year.

“The BBC is acutely concerned that BBC Persian Service staff have suffered intimidation from the Iranian authorities who have harassed their families living in Iran, and there have been crude attempts to discredit our journalism. Against this background, our audiences in Iran have almost doubled to 11.8m. This recognition by ordinary Iranians is a tribute to the professionalism and resilience of our journalists, and to the value of their work delivering unbiased news and programmes to Persian-speaking audiences.”