This Sunday, May 3, the world commemorates World Press Freedom Day. Each year, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), its five public service media networks–Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks–and a sixth entity devoted to internet freedom, the Open Technology Fund, mark the occasion with a recognition of the importance of press freedom while highlighting ongoing threats to press.
This year, the world looks very different than in years past. Because of the unprecedented global crisis, citizens are seeking out accurate, reliable information on how the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding in their own countries and around the world. We thank the journalists, editors, photo-journalists, videographers, and support staff who continue to work despite new challenges and great personal risk in reporting the news.
Since the start of the pandemic, USAGM’s public service media has produced thousands of articles, videos, interviews, and fact-checks on this massive news story for television, radio, social media platforms and mobile apps. This is an impressive but not surprising contribution from our five networks that already deliver news and information programming in 61 languages to 350 million people in more than 100 countries weekly.
It is times like these that remind us that journalists are essential workers. Their reporting provides life-saving information, important health and policy updates, and holds leaders to account. My priority every day, not just on World Press Freedom Day, is to protect and support our journalists, from enemies seen and unseen. A world in which information is controlled foments dissent, marginalization and conflict. Protecting journalists and the work they do protects us all.
We have, and will continue to serve the American public by staying true to our mission — informing, engaging and connecting our audiences in support of freedom and democracy.
Grant K. Turner
CEO and Director, USAGM