May 3, 2019 — On World Press Freedom Day, the Society of Environmental Journalists joined with other journalism groups to call for freedom of the press, access to information and the protection of journalists. SEJ signed on to a joint resolution that resolves to uphold the democratic process by committing to guard against the spread of misinformation.
The statement was produced by attendees at the World Press Freedom Day Summit (WPFDS) organized by the Society of Professional Journalists in New York. At the summit, SEJ's executive director Meaghan Parker and Emily Gertz, a member of SEJ's Freedom of Information Task Force, met with other leaders of journalism groups to discuss press freedom issues and to build a consensus around key principles.
SPJ national president J. Alex Tarquinio said, "The resolution is much more than a document. It is a reminder of the commitment we have as journalism and open government groups to protect and advocate for truth and the free flow of information to the public during this election season and beyond."
To help celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2019, SEJ hosted a journalists' roundtable at Colorado State University's Denver Center, "Straddling the Climate and Policy Divide." SEJ's event is one of many such press freedom events taking place around the world on May 3; see the complete list here.
"Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration (link is external) on media pluralism and independence." — UNESCO
"In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors."
— Associate Justice Hugo Black, writing for the Supreme Court in New York Times v. United States