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Press Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL40, tabled on 11 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of journalists (1) killed, (2) arrested, and (3) imprisoned, in the course of their work in the last five years; and what steps they will take to protect freedom of journalists to report.

Answered on

25 May 2021

Far too many journalists have been killed, arrested and imprisoned over the last five years. The situation appears to have deteriorated during this time, including the number of journalists threatened, abused or attacked. This is why the former Foreign Secretary launched a global media freedom campaign in November 2018, to shine a spotlight on media freedom and increase the cost to those abusing media freedom and persecuting journalists. The Media Freedom Coalition was one initiative created under the campaign. The Coalition is a partnership of countries working together to advocate for media freedom and safety of journalists and hold to account those who harm journalists for doing their job. It continues to expand, and consists of 47 members who have pledged to improve media freedom at home and abroad. It has issued a number of statements including, this year, on cases related to Uganda, China, Belarus and Myanmar, as well as to mark World Press Freedom Day. Another initiative of the campaign was the establishment of the Global Media Defence Fund, managed by UNESCO. Following its first project round in 2020, over 40 projects, aimed at enhancing journalists' legal protection and access to specialised legal assistance, as well as supporting investigative journalism, were selected for funding. The projects are reported to be benefitting over 1100 journalists and 65 media lawyers. Three years after the launch of the campaign, media freedom and the defence of journalists remains a priority for this office. We have used our presidency of the G7 this year to promote media freedom, securing strong language in the G7 Foreign Ministers' communique committing members to champion media freedom, support the work of the Media Freedom Coalition and lead by example in undertaking measures to improve media freedom.