Celebrating World Press Freedom Day Is More Important Than Ever

In the last year, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, an extremist mailed pipe bombs to CNN, and a gunman targeted the Capital-Gazette newsroom.

Journalists, media organizations, world leaders and news consumers alike came together on social media Friday to celebrate World Press Freedom Day and remember journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“Seven months ago, Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for marriage papers while his fiancee waited outside. He was brutally murdered & dismembered by Saudi agents & never seen again,” wrote CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Twitter. “We will continue to cover this story.”

Turkish authorities reported that Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, had been tortured, dismembered and beheaded inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denies any involvement in the murder, though the CIA determined otherwise

Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is one of thousands of journalists around the world who have been killed since 199
Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is one of thousands of journalists around the world who have been killed since 1992 for doing their jobs.

At least 1,340 journalists have been killed for their work worldwide since 1992, while hundreds of others have been jailed for simply doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The United Nations declared World Press Freedom Day to honor journalists who have died searching for the truth, who bring power to account and who defend the media’s independence. 

The theme for World Press Freedom Day this year is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation,” which focuses on threats to journalism and democracy in an era of “fake news.”

The press cannot do its job if it is not truly free and independent, nor can a democracy be called a democracy if it does not allow the press to function. Yet journalists in 2019 have been experiencing blow after blow after blow.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration constantly chastise the media, which Trump has labeled the “enemy of the people” ― and many Americans say they distrust the press, contributing to an increasingly hostile climate for journalists. In the last year alone, media organizations in the U.S. have suffered a shooting in a newsroom, pipe bombs mailed their offices and an administration that bans reporters from the White House.

World Press Freedom Day exists to remind those who consume news why the news matters. Find more information about the day here.

Here’s how journalists, leaders and others have been commemorating press freedom today on Twitter: