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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the Special Meeting on the Occasion of the World Press Freedom Day

New York, 29 April 2010

[Delivered by H.E. Mr. Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad - Acting President of the United Nations General Assembly]

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Once a year, we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day. The 2010 World Press Freedom Day is of particular significance.

Freedom of the press and freedom of expression have played an important role in the history of mankind and their significance as basic rights is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This is a Day that we should all celebrate, not once a year, but every day in our daily lives. Governments, international organizations, civil society, business sector and all citizens of the world should cherish these rights and do their utmost to uphold freedom of the press.

But freedom sometimes comes at a price, and sadly, freedom of the press is no exception. Tribute must be paid to all reporters and media organizations who made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for press freedom. Lives that have been lost should encourage us to defend press freedom with a greater commitment. The physical integrity of journalists all over the world should be protected. No more media professional should be threatened, let alone killed simply because he or she was doing his or her work.

This year’s theme, “Freedom of Information: The Right to Know” is a fitting reminder to all that access to information is not only a right but also that media professionals doing their work have the right to do so.

Member States, international organizations, civil society, consumers need media organizations and reporters as partners for peace and development. Thanks to the media of this new age, we are all global citizens and we can make good use of the modern tools at our disposal and increased access to information to strengthen democracy, enrich education and sustain peace.

Press freedom is also of critical importance because it may well end up empowering the individual so that citizens everywhere would become more engaged, better informed and responsible. Press Freedom is key to the building of a better tomorrow.

Thank you.

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