To those observing Ramadan I wish you and your families all the blessings of the holy month. During these trying times, the values at the heart of Ramadan and Islam – compassion, gratitude, and generosity – are more important than ever.
The spirit of Ramadan reminds us of our debt to those at the front-lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who risk their health every day protecting ours.
I include journalists in that heroic number. Journalists often work in dangerous conditions to inform the public about the pandemic. They provide what any free society needs, especially in times of crisis – objective information, facts and the truth. We remember and honor those journalists lost to the pandemic and their selfless dedication to public service. We honor all journalists, everywhere, who have sacrificed their lives and freedom in pursuit of truth and justice.
On World Press Freedom Day, the United States joins countries around the world reaffirming the universal right of free expression and essential role press freedom plays in protecting democracy and keeping citizens informed and safe.
Journalists and an unfettered press help us learn the truth, sometimes unpleasant and disagreeable, about our countries, our governments and ourselves.
That makes our societies better. It makes us stronger. A free press gives voice to the voiceless, exposes injustice, and holds leaders accountable.
Free and open societies have an obligation to protect a free press. Journalists should be free to pursue the truth without fear of censorship, harassment, or arrest as they perform this essential public service.
Their work is indispensable in a true democracy.
The citizens they protect and serve, all of us, are in their debt.