Media Center

Press Release

Message from OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro on World Press Freedom Day

  May 3, 2017

We celebrate this occasion to remember the value of the principle of freedom of expression in the defense of democracy in our hemisphere and around the world.

This year the day is focused on the role of media in the construction of more peaceful, fair and inclusive societies.

In effect, independent media not tied to the government in power, nor to monopolies or private oligopolies, are fundamental to generating pluralism and building democratic societies.

Citizens must have access to information from various sources in order to form an opinion and to participate actively in the public debate. It cannot be just a dialogue between elites.

That is why we all must defend its independence and pay homage to the journalists that –as a result of the search for truth—have lost their lives in our hemisphere and throughout the world in the exercise of their profession.

The information society, with the internet and social networks, has expanded the opportunities for more people to make their voices heard. However, we must remember that there is still a third of the population of the Americas that finds itself without access to the new technologies.

It is worrying that in some countries official censorship has increased, as have accusations by senior authorities toward the press as well as the dissemination of disinformation, propaganda and “fake news” by made-up media that confuse the population.

As a way to prioritize the defense and stimulation of these values, the OAS created 20 years ago the Special Rapporteurship for the Freedom of Express of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), whose tireless work in the monitoring and promotion of these rights we recognize.

For the OAS, the promotion of the freedom of expression and the defense of free and safe journalism is part of our commitment to fundamental rights, the rule of law, the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Reference: E-036/17