On World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated on 3 May, British and Canadian Ambassadors to Belarus Jacqueline Perkins and Leslie Scanlon expressed support to the Belarusian independent media and journalists.
British Ambassador Jacqueline Perkins said in her address: “A free press is at the heart of a democratic society, and freedom of expression is a universal human right. Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, freedom of the media is not an axiom. Over the past year, we have seen harsh suppression of independent media and journalists in Belarus as a way to drown out their voices and prevent the inconvenient truth from being revealed. Journalists are detained and detained, fined and restrained. Independent media are being squeezed out of the media market using discriminatory laws and administrative tools.”
The Ambassador of Great Britain noted that this year Belarus dropped even further in the World Press Freedom Index and “became the most dangerous country in Europe for media workers”.
According to Canadian Ambassador Leslie Scanlon, the Belarusian government “has decided to systematically rewrite laws in order to get rid of the media that go against the official position of the authorities.” The ambassador also called on the Belarusian authorities to “respect fundamental human rights” and “create conditions in which independent media can work safely and without intimidation”.
The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day, observed to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression. On this day in 1991, a Declaration was adopted in Windhoek, Africa, which proclaimed that an absolute prerequisite for freedom of the press is the availability of free, independent and pluralistic media.