Journalists: attacks on press freedom are a public emergency

Journalists from the National Press Club in Washington today demanded a greater social awareness of their work in the face of increased attacks on the press globally and warned that it is a “public emergency.”

“It’s not a problem for the press, it’s a public emergency,” warned Kathy Kiely of the organization’s Press Freedom Institute during a conference in Washington on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

Kiely stressed the need to raise awareness among the rest of the citizens about the importance of their work in a context in which the attacks against journalists from the political power are multiplied, personalized by the president himself, Donald Trump, among other leaders.

The journalist stressed that for western democracy and the US it is “vital” that “vigilance to power be maintained, and that vigilance is exercised by journalists”: “To save journalism, journalists must be saved.”

During the conference, which highlighted multiple cases of journalists who have been killed or detained while exercising their profession, the experts of the organization emphasized that when the freedom of a journalist is threatened, it is sought “to send a message of what they are the red lines “.

In this sense, the president of the National Press Club, Bloomberg journalist Andrea Edney, highlighted the importance of “continuing to write and keep reporting” on cases in which authoritarian governments try to restrict the right to information of citizens .

“Think of the people who work for you, the people who die and who are in prison,” Edney demanded of society, remembering journalists who seek to inform the population and, as a result, end up suffering from some these situations.

For Edney, the drift observed in recent years in this aspect implies that the current situation supposes a “critical” moment.

John Donnelly, head of the organization’s Freedom of the Press Committee, stressed the need for “the bad guys do not get away with it”.

“We need to do more work so that people realize that we are representatives of the public,” Donnelly said in a call to his colleagues to put their daily work in value.

The journalist considered that until now the pedagogy has not been enough: “Apparently people have not understood it because the president (Donald Trump) goes ahead,” he said.

Insisted on this Yeganeh Rezaian, a journalist who was arrested in 2014 in Iran along with her husband, “The Washington Post” reporter Jason Rezaian, who was the last to leave prison in a prisoner exchange process between Tehran and Washington in 2016

During the press conference, they also reported that the University of Michigan has granted a scholarship to Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez, fled to the US due to threats received in his country and that he is in prison while deciding on his deportation process after that he has been denied asylum.

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