The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement for World Press Freedom Day:
“Every year, on May 3rd, we celebrate the fundamental principle of freedom of the press, and the important role journalists play in promoting democracy around the world. On this day, we take a hard look at the current state of press freedom, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.
“The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.’ It reminds us that peace, justice and inclusiveness are foundational values for any society that empowers individual citizens and promotes government transparency and accountability.
“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – now in its 35th year – established the freedom of the press as a fundamental freedom. Journalists start conversations, shine light on stories that would otherwise not be told, and give Canadians the facts they need to engage in public debate and shape events around them. A free and open press is crucial to an informed and engaged citizenry, which is at the heart of a healthy democracy.
“While journalistic freedom is widely recognized and respected in Canada, we cannot ignore the censorship, intimidation, false arrests and violence that many journalists face in other parts of the world. These acts give rise to fear and self-censorship, stifle societies, and undermine the right to freedom of expression. Canada will continue working to promote a vibrant and free press here and abroad.
“Today, we recognize the many journalists who seek out the truth, challenge assumptions and expose injustices, often at great personal risk. They are the cornerstones of any strong and healthy democracy, informing and challenging us all to think more critically about the world around us.”