On 03 May, the Palau Media Council celebrates journalists’ critical role worldwide.
The World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity for smaller newsrooms like what we have in Palau to highlight the need for independent local journalism.
The Palau Media Council, with membership open to media practitioners residing in the Republic and affiliates from overseas, works to promote and sustain Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press, and the overall awareness of the Media Industry’s importance in national development.
Freedom of information is essential to the function of a fair and free society and forms the basis both for the right of individuals to express themselves and for governments to be accountable to their citizens. Press freedom is necessary for a fully functioning democracy. Our role as media contributes to the strengthening of our democratic institutions.
We remind the government to respect its commitment to press freedom as enshrined in the Palau Constitution under the Fundamental Rights: Article IV, Section 2: The Government shall take no action to deny or impair the freedom of expression or press. No bona fide reporter may be required by the government to divulge information obtained during a professional investigation.
We believe that access to fact-based information should never be extinguished. Policy interests should not override the promise of transparency, press freedom, and open debate made by this government.
We strongly disagree with public denunciation of the independent media from the government and any attempts to make the press serve those in power rather than the public.
We also urge the government to support the local media and stop the selective dissemination of information.
In celebrating World Press Freedom Day, we also convey our thoughts and prayers to the journalists who have lost their lives or are oppressed or threatened while fighting for the truth and freedom.
A bit of history shows how Palau has come a long way in fighting for freedom of expression in Palau. The Palau Media Council pays tribute to the people of the media industry and the pioneers that blazed trails for the industry to survive and thrive.
The Palau media is encouraged by the public’s trust in journalists to get critical information to the community.
We believe that keeping the population informed and holding leaders to account is crucial to a fully functioning democratic government.
SOURCE: PALAU MEDIA COUNCIL/PACNEWS