Press release

United States: Freedom House Welcomes Administration’s Focus on Press Freedom in Foreign Policy

Attacks on independent journalism have contributed to the world’s democratic decline.

Following a meeting this afternoon between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the leaders of Freedom House, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Internews, Reporters Without Borders, IFEX, and the National Press Foundation in advance of World Press Freedom Day on Monday, May 3, Freedom House released the following statement:

“We are pleased to see the Biden administration elevate the defense of press freedom in its foreign policy, and we are grateful for the opportunity to meet with Secretary Blinken on this vital issue,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The media hold governments accountable by shedding light on corruption and abuses of power, which is why independent journalists are often early victims of rising authoritarian regimes—attacks on the free press are typically a harbinger of much worse to come.

“In 2020, the world experienced its 15th consecutive year of democratic decline, including significant erosions of press freedom that go beyond traditional forms of censorship. Journalists and bloggers around the globe face serious threats of physical harm, online intimidation, and economic punishment. Other antidemocratic practices include consolidating the news media under government control, withholding funding from independent outlets, and training journalists to be government mouthpieces rather than independent investigators and critics.

“As strongman leaders gain power around the world—not just in historically repressive settings like Russia and China, but also in previously democratic or tentatively improving countries, such as Hungary and Myanmar—we urge the administration to put the advance of democracy and the fight against authoritarianism at the heart of its foreign and national security policy.”