Governments in Asia ‘Celebrate’ World Press Freedom Day While Suppressing Freedom of the Press

Governments and state media in Southeast Asia touted improving media liberty on World Press Freedom Day Friday, but critics were swift to point out limits on expression and the jailing of many journalists across the region.

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye said in a statement that celebration alone to mark the day would be an insufficient way to observe a day created by the UN General Assembly in 1993 to assess the state of press freedom worldwide, defend the media from attacks on independence and pay tribute to journalists who have died in the line of duty.

“Autocrats and demagogues too often denigrate the press, with dire consequences for safety, for democracy, and for the public’s right to know,” Kaye said in the statement.

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