Freedom of Expression


World Press Freedom Day: "Critical minds for critical times"

The Office of the Special Rapporteur calls on States to create an enabling environment for a free and independent media


May 3, 2017


Washington D.C. - On World Press Freedom Day the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) recognizes the valuable work of the women and men who practice journalism in our region and calls on States to create an enabling environment for freedom of expression, which includes protecting and supporting the media in its fundamental role within democratic societies.


On this occasion, the special rapporteurs for freedom of expression of the UN, OSCE, IACHR and the African Commission on Human Rights issued a Joint Declaration (2017) which addresses the problem of disinformation, propaganda and the so-called "fake news". The Special Rapporteur Edison Lanza stated that "disinformation and propaganda strongly affect democracy: they erode the credibility of traditional media, interfere with the right of people to seek and receive information of all kinds." The Joint Declaration is available here.


This May 3, and under the theme "critical minds for critical times", the Office of the Special Rapporteur reiterates that the freedom to seek, receive and impart ideas and information of all kinds is a key condition in any democratic society and that media is a crucial vehicle for the exercise of this right. Without a diverse, plural, critical, free and independent media, abuse of power remains hidden and authoritarian systems take root.  


States should contribute decisively towards the formation of an enabling environment in which all individuals can express their opinions and disseminate information without fear of attacks, reprisals or stigmatization.