Happy World Press Freedom Day!

By May 3, 2011

As we reported a few weeks ago, today kicks off the first-ever U.S.-hosted World Press Freedom Day, an event established in 1993 to commemorate the underlying principles of press freedom and draw attention to the hurdles journalists often face to keep the public informed.

In anticipation of the event, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), one of our frequent allies in defending free speech on campus, issued an open letter to President Obama that appeared in The Washington Post on April 15 as a half-page advertisement (page A21). FIRE is proud to be one of the signatories. 

World Press Freedom Day is also an opportunity to acknowledge the areas in which America’s free expression freedoms fall short and how they can be improved to fully respect the First Amendment.

The letter, signed by an impressive coalition of 38 different free expression and journalism organizations, asks President Obama and his administration to

publicly acknowledge the unfinished work of press freedom in our own nation, to denounce the shameful practice of stifling candid discussion of school issues, and to ensure that this World Press Freedom Day concludes with a global commitment to protect the rights of all journalists, even the youngest.

As our extensive case work in defending expression on college campuses shows, we couldn’t have made a better request ourselves.

You can check out SPLC’s continuing coverage of World Press Freedom Day events and tidbits on Twitter and over at the SPLC blog.