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May 3, 2021

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day

Antonio Guterres

Today, May third is World Press Freedom Day. While journalists in Belize do not face the same risks as our counterparts in Mexico, it may surprise you to learn Belize is not among the top ten, or even top fifty countries with the strongest press freedoms. In fact, on the 2021 World Press Freedom Index Belize comes in at fifty-three, out of one hundred and eighty countries. The rationale for the score is presented on the Reporters Without Borders website which says quote “Coverage of political developments and criminal cases in Belize is controversial because the media are extremely polarized. This often results in legal proceedings that are long and costly for media outlets. Cases of threats, intimidation, and harassment of journalists are occasionally reported. End quote. Today, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres urged all countries to ensure a safe environment for media workers as a public good.

 

Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations

“During the pandemic, and in other crises including the climate emergency, journalists and media workers help us navigate a fast-changing and often overwhelming landscape of information, while addressing dangerous inaccuracies and falsehoods. In too many countries, they run great personal risks, including new restrictions, censorship, abuse, harassment, detention and even death, simply for doing their jobs. The situation continues to worsen. The economic impact of the pandemic has hit many media outlets hard, threatening their very survival. As budgets tighten, so too does access to reliable information. Rumours, falsehoods and extreme or divisive opinions surge in to fill the gap. I urge all governments to do everything in their power to support a free, independent and diverse media. Free and independent journalism is our greatest ally in combating misinformation and disinformation. The United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists aims to create a safe environment for media workers across the globe – because information is a public good.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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