[06:41 pm] 02 May, 2006

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the media freedom
watchdogs of four of the world's leading international organizations
have issued a joint statement urging governments not to let violence
against media personnel go unpunished and commending the vital role
the press plays for democracy.

"We take this opportunity to call upon all governments to combat
impunity with regard to violence against journalists and media
personnel, by bringing to justice those responsible for attacks
against them, and by taking measures that enable journalists
and media personnel to continue providing information freely and
independently. All journalists detained on the grounds of their
media-related activities should be released immediately," the
statement reads.

"It is a grave sorrow to remind ourselves that in the year 2005 the
world recorded the highest number of journalists and other media
professionals, killed or injured in the line of duty."

"The media constitute the foundation of a democratic society where
individuals and groups are encouraged to exchange information and
express opinions freely.

Nourishing media diversity is essential for maintaining pluralism,"
the four reporters stressed.

The joint statement was signed by: the Special Reporters of the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights on the promotion and protection of
the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Representative on
Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation
in Europe, the Special Reporter for freedom of expression of the
Organization of American States and the Special Reporter on Freedom
of Expression of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.