Seventy-One Graves Mark World Press Freedom Day

03 May 2005

Today, Tuesday May 3, is World Press Freedom Day.

Loss of life and liberty are media-neutral threats. They affect not only members of the press but television and radio journalists in equal measure across the globe.

As you read this, one hundred and fourteen journalists languish in prisons worldwide - many under conditions we, the privileged many, would prefer not to contemplate.

And in 2004 seventy-one lost their lives. Four were women.

Some are victims of dictatorships or repressive regimes. Some of war. While others fell foul of vested or criminal interests in purportedly democratic nations. All ventured that inch too far, asked one question too many.

The largest single imprisoned group of journalists, forty-two in total, are incarcerated in China - a nation into which born-free western media are currently elbowing their way in pursuit of gain and influence. The media leaders have a voice: will they, like the forty-two captives, dare to raise it?

We who are lucky enough to take our freedoms and safety for granted salute these brave and dedicated men and women.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave: Patrick Henry, American revolutionary, radical and Governor of Virginia 1776-1778

For further information on World Press Freedom day click here.

Data sourced from World Press Freedom Day website