World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Film

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WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Film

WAN-IFRA is committed to defending and promoting a free and independent press worldwide. A free press is the guardian of the right to freedom of expression for millions of people across the globe, but for billions more this basic right is denied, meaning their voices often go unheard. This film is a snapshot of their struggle.

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Full script:

"Imagine a world in which there is no right to inform, report, investigate, challenge or express an opinion. This is a world where darkness infiltrates every corner of life, where truth is anathema and the power of knowledge simply unknown.

Picture this world in which there is no freedom of expression and barely anyone left to defend it. This is a world where impunity prevails for unspeakable crimes suffered by countless millions. Heinous acts that silence critics and spread fear and violence at will. Offences against which governments are unwilling to act, where law and order are turned into tradable commodities and justice becomes a spiraling nightmare of repression.

This is a world where men and women are exiled from their homes and declared enemies of the very states to which their lives were dedicated to building.

A world where corruption touches the very powers meant to protect. A world in which your voice goes unheard, your views are rejected and your interests ignored.

A world where those who defend the truth, publish facts and speak out against tyranny are targeted, imprisoned, tortured, and left to rot in silence. A world in which the fear of retribution is ever present, stalking each word and encroaching between every line, where self-censorship becomes the only rule.

This is a world that readily condemns an independent press as a plague to be eradicated, where the realities of poverty, war, rape, corruption, people trafficking, slavery and genocide are all too familiar, yet remain unprintable.

For over five-and-a-half billion people, this is the reality of their world today.

You only know this because you are part of the fortunate 17% of the human race who enjoy unrestricted freedom of expression.

This knowledge is power. Use it to help us make a difference.

The conviction that free and independent newspapers play an indispensable role in maintaining free societies and guaranteeing human rights has been at the heart of this organisation for over 60 years.

Achieving our aims is neither easy nor straight forward, but the commitment to fighting in defense of rights and freedoms intended for all, yet enjoyed by so few, should inspire everyone concerned with human rights to promote a free and independent press worldwide.

A free press is at the very core of the right to free expression, providing a frontline defense when it comes to safeguarding access to knowledge and information as defined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A free press provides a window through which all the abuses of this most fundamental of rights can be revealed.

It affirms that to criticise, hold to account and call to justice those in power is the right of the many and not the few.

Put simply, freedom of expression is the right that underpins all rights.

Yet media employees around the world face physical violence and persecution of all kinds, whether from public officials, criminals or terrorists. Assaults are daily - and often deadly - for those who challenge governments, report on conflict, or investigate corruption and crime.

These people are the courageous publishers, editors and journalists who continue in the face of repression to deliver the news and inform the public of their right to know.

Together we can shed light into the darkest corners of the world and ensure these voices are never silenced and their words are forever heard. Join us in making press freedom a reality, for everyone."

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