May 3, 2012: Today, we celebrate World Press Freedom Day. We recognize the work of journalists, including our clients, who risk their personal safety and freedom to deliver news and shine a light on problems in their communities.

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3 to commemorate the day in 1991 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Windhoek Declaration. The Declaration recognizes the important role independent, pluralistic media plays in developing a strong democracy and in propelling economic development.

Two decades later, freedom of the press continues to be impeded all over the world. In its 2012 annual press freedom survey Freedom House reported that only one in six people live in countries where the press is classified as “free”. Independent journalists face threats to their physical safety, as well as immense economic and legal pressures. Despite the onerous obstacles they face, journalists around the world risk their safety and freedom to provide independent news and report on conditions in their communities.

Today, as we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, let us not forget those journalists that languish in prisons.

Freedom Now helps to free these prisoners of conscience so that they can return to their communities and use their profession to advance democracy and human rights in their countries. Freedom Now provides pro bono international counsel for imprisoned journalists including Chief Ebrima Manneh (Gambia), Eskinder Nega (Ethiopia), Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev (Turkmenistan), and Dilmurod Saidov (Uzbekistan).