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Statement by the Tánaiste - World Press Day

Irish Aid, Human Rights, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Press Releases, Ireland, 2014

 

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, TD, made the following statement on World Press Day

 

World Press Day is an opportunity to reflect on how access to information can improve peoples’ lives, particularly in the developing world. It our collective responsibility to protect and improve this access.

In this role, the Government’s overseas aid programme, Irish Aid, established the Simon Cumbers Media Fund in 2005. The fund is named in memory of an Irish journalist who died tragically in Saudi Arabia the previous year.

Simon Cumbers set out to ensure that communities who had been marginalised or ignored found a voice through his reports. The Fund is designed to increase coverage of global development issues and raise awareness of the progress being achieved in the developing world, and of the challenges which many communities and families face every day.

Journalists like Simon Cumbers can play a vital role in matters of public interest by raising awareness of human rights as well as documenting and reporting human rights violations and abuses.

Unfortunately, the exercise of their work often exposes them to a range of human rights violations and abuses. It is extremely concerning that in most reported cases of attacks or killing of journalists, no investigations or legal procedures have been undertaken; perpetrators act with impunity.

The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have rightly addressed the growing threat to the safety of journalists as a key issue which is fundamental to the fulfilment of freedom of expression and opinion. Both bodies have called upon States to ensure accountability through impartial and effective investigations to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Today, on world Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the journalists who have given their lives in the pursuit of their profession. We will continue to work both in international fora and bilaterally to see a safer world for journalists and for the freedom of expression.