UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O'Donnell issued a statement on the observance of the World Press Freedom Day 3 May, 2007. Kyiv, Ukraine. Statement of the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine on the observance of the World Press Freedom Day UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O'Donnell issued a statement on the observance of the World Press Freedom Day 3 May, 2007. Kyiv, Ukraine. Statement of the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine on the observance of the World Press Freedom Day
UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O'Donnell issued a statement on the observance of the World Press Freedom Day

3 May, 2007. Kyiv, Ukraine. UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Mr. Francis M. O'Donnell issued a statement on the observance of the World Press Freedom Day:

"In 1993 the United Nations General Assembly declared an annual observance of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to remind us all of the importance to protect the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

These rights are the most essential components of democratic society. They serve as reliable foundation for promoting civic participation and the rule of law in country to ensure civil and political rights. Moreover, at a time when ideas about freedom of expression, democracy, human rights and access to natural and material resources guide development programmes across the world the question about the role of media for and in development becomes ever more pertinent.

Observance of these rights contributes to the overall fight against poverty being the prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development in any country.

Having the 2007 Press Freedom Day celebration focused on the safety of journalists, we, at the United Nations, call on governments and public authorities throughout the world to end the culture of impunity regarding violence against journalists by undertaking proper investigations and punishing those responsible for attacks on media professionals.

For the last several years media freedom in Ukraine received mostly positive recognition from international media watchdogs. However, freedom of expression is always fragile and more efforts to be deployed in removing obstacles to press freedom and improving access to information.

In particular, for a free media to thrive in Ukraine:

• Owners, including politicians, must not exploit ownership rights to restrict editorial independence
• Journalists must be independent of oligarch and political patronage to pursue their enquiries
• State authorities must not interfere with media editorial policy and content
• State authorities must avoid using administrative sanctions to arbitrarily restrict or prohibit media

This day, we call upon decision-makers at all levels to do whatever they can to ensure viable conditions for independent journalism and we urge journalists to adhere to the highest professional standards of well-balanced reporting.

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day Day, we must remember that pluralistic media provide a solid foundation for good governance, development and peace. We are grateful for the day-to-day work of the journalists both in Ukraine and worldwide for providing us with knowledge and information essential to the success of our activities, and to the support of our partners. But more importantly, they play a key role in consolidating democracy, demanding accountability, communicating transparently, and thereby in upholding human rights."

On the observance of the World Press Freedom Day UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the world community and called to reaffirm commitment to the right of freedom of opinion and expression. And the representatives of United Nations Member States at the UN Committee on Information urged the world body to keep using a wide array of media and languages to deliver its message of peace, development and rights to the peoples of the worlduarters in New York.

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For further information, please contact UN Communications Officer Ms. Veronika Vashchenko at veronika.vashchenko@un.org.ua, tel (+38 044) 254 0035.