Posted in Industry Insights

Fighting for press freedom

, by Lauren Easton

This World Press Freedom Day, which serves a reminder to governments of their duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression, AP continues to advocate for the ability of journalists to operate freely and safely across the globe.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel Karen Kaiser, who will lead a discussion on freedom of expression and journalist safety at today’s UNESCO World Press Freedom Day conference, explains the importance of a free press.

What are the greatest emerging threats to press freedom in the digital age?

The digital age brings its own set of threats for journalists, including surveillance, misinformation, online harassment and smearing campaigns. All of these lead to intimidation and an attempt to silence reporting.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel Karen Kaiser poses outside the 2022 UNESCO World Press Freedom Day conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, May 3, 2022. (AP Photo)

How does AP fight for press freedom, both in the U.S. and abroad?

We fight for press freedoms by tracking restrictive laws that seek to criminalize reporting and silence the press, training our staff (including, importantly, on practicing strong digital hygiene), fighting against government overreach, and advocacy on all these issues.

Press freedom doesn’t only impact the media. What should the public know about the importance of this fundamental principle?

A free and independent press is essential to a democracy. Without the press shining a light on the government, the people are left in the dark. The silencing of journalism is what prevents information from reaching people. That is why this principle is so fundamental. And you can’t have a free press without a safe press, which is why threats against journalists are a real threat to everyone.