Monday, April 30, 2007

Press Freedom essential to Democracy

Issued by JAWS 3rd May 2007

As the world celebrates the work of media professionals this International Press Freedom Day, the Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa would like to reiterate the importance of Press Freedom in Democracy.Press Freedom is essential to Democracy, it ensures a fair and just society through an open and Free Press.

Press Freedom ensures that the concepts of transparency, accountability and good governance are observed through a healthy flow of information to the public.In the words of American Journalist Arthur Libbman: "A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society."Unlike other countries, Samoa enjoys Press Freedom to a certain degree and Journalists, Editors, Camera operators and Photographers are able to move and work from day to day without danger.

This World Press Freedom Day, JAWS would like to pay tribute to Journalists around the world who face personal danger everyday in their efforts to exercise Freedom of the Press.We acknowledge the support of the United Nations in ensuring Press Freedom around the world, including Samoa.In the pursuit of Press Freedom we as Journalists have a personal responsibility to report fair and objectively without bias or judgement.As in the words of Pakistani Journalist, Razia Bhatti who said: "Journalists must seek and speak the truth for we are the voice of the voiceless millions."

JAWS would also like to acknowledges the support of the Government of Samoa in ensuring Press Freedom.The UN theme for WPFD: "Safety of Journalists and Impunity," has been re-adapted by JAWS to suit the local context.The theme for this years JAWS WPFD activity is: "Confidentiality and Fair Treatment of Journalists."

To commemorate this event, JAWS will be hosting an Editors Forum, on Wednesday, 9th of May 2007 at the SamoaTel Conference Rooms and Maluafou.Hon. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi will be conducting the keynote address.The JAWS WPFD activity will be based on the theme: "Confidentiality and Fair Treatment of Journalists."JAWS would like to acknowledge the efforts of all media workers in Samoa to ensure Press Freedom despite threats and constraints.We end, in the words of Irish Political Author, Junius who said: "Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the press is the core of all the civil, political, and religious rights." [End:JAWS WPFD Release] Apia, Samoa