Regina Benneh Siaw, GNA special correspondent, New York
More than 40 journalists and media staff have been killed around the world with many more being held hostage or simply disappearing.
Mr Sam Kutesa, UN General Asembly President, who made this known to the press at the World Press Freedom Day in New York, said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was clear on the freedom for all to seek, receive and impart information, regardless of borders.
The World Press Freedom Day is celebrated annually on May 3 in recognition of courageous journalists who worked in dangerous environments to tell the important stories the world needs to hear.
“These men and women go about their critical work in often inhospitable environments, from the comfort and safety of our homes and workplaces, we can learn about important issues around the world including some dark and troubling events,” he said.
He said journalists bridged the information gap and through that work the world learnt about important discoveries and innovations.
Mr Kutesa said without journalists, citizens would have difficulty knowing about positive developments in the furthest corners of the world.
He urged all member states to do their utmost to uphold these rights for the press and media staff.
“We must strive to guarantee these universal standards,” he said.
On the importance of freedom of the press, Kaha Imnadze, Chairperson of the UN Committee on Information and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UN, said the importance of free flow of information to the functioning of the Organisation and ensuring gender equality for lasting peace must be respected.
“Everyone must be free to seek, receive and impart knowledge and information on all media, online and offline. Quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society’s development. It also works to expose injustice, corruption, and the abuse of power,” he said.
Some journalists at function called on member states, international and regional organisations, corporations and other entities to promote an enabling environment safe for media organisations and their employees to operate freely without fear of intimidation or harassment.