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The Foreign Secretary marks World Press Freedom Day

Foreign Secretary celebrates World Press Freedom Day and condemns restrictions around the world.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

Freedom of expression and a free press are fundamental to human rights. A free press is essential to a flourishing democracy, to innovation and creativity, and to a stable and inclusive society. Actions that undermine or restrict freedom of expression and the media threaten all of those things.

This year’s World Press Freedom Day draws attention to the contribution that a free media makes to the social and economic development of countries around the world. Access to uncensored information and a free press are essential for citizens to hold their governments to account. This helps to ensure governments are effective and responsive, which is crucial for long-term development.

In this regard, I am deeply concerned by the harassment and detention of journalists in Egypt, including the twenty Al-Jazeera staff whose trial resumes today, and by the clamp down on freedom of information in Russia and the intimidation and detention of journalists by separatists in eastern Ukraine. Repression against journalists and the suppression of free speech are a serious threat to human rights in any country.

Further information

Visit the FCO World Press Freedom Day blogs page

Follow the Foreign Secretary on twitter @WilliamJHague

Follow the FCO’s human rights work on twitter @FCOhumanrights

Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice

Follow the Foreign Office on facebook and Google+

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