„For truth and freedom you stand!“
Around the world, journalists are threatened, persecuted and even become victims of murder and terror. They are not safe anymore simply because of their profession. Along the front lines in invaded Ukraine, media professionals are incredibly reporting on the war, especially on the war crimes and on the situation in Russia. They do not allow anyone to make silent.
Media professionals, worldwide, who do not lose their work ethic and continue to objectively report on terrible human rights violations and write about injustice, make videos and films or talk about it in podcast or other formats, are being put under pressure. They are attacked in person and also together with their families - in digital space, as in real physical life. They are imprisoned or forced into exile.
Distinguishing between human rights activism and independent investigative journalism is often impossible in many countries, such as Russia, Belarus, Turkey or Mexico. Journalists have long since become the most important defenders of universal human rights.
In a free world with open societies, we have a duty to inform the public about the threatening situation of media professionals and to create publicity. For it is precisely public reporting that can also have a protective effect on the courageous media professionals who continue their fight for freedom of opinion. We must also support them in exile. That is the goal of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom with its “International Journalist and Media Dialogue” program. This publication serves such the above purpose.
We must ensure that the voices of media professional are not silenced. We do this also out of our own interest, in order to strengthen opposition activists who stand up for democracy in their country and thus try to weaken corrupt, autocratic and totalitarian systems of rule.
Our freedom, too, is only as secure as we ourselves are willing to stand up for it. Freedom of media and opinion was, is and will remain a definite indicator of how free the people in a country really are. There is none better than the above.
When propaganda and disinformation dominate a society and such a state of affairs persists for years, becoming, as it were the norm, what happens is what we are seeing in Russia and other countries today. Propaganda and disinformation dominate the formation of (political) opinion and slander the truth.
For truth and freedom you stand: Courageous journalists and media professionals who do not give up and continue even under threat to their own physical integrity and under adverse circumstances.
25 years after the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, we dedicate this publication to the profession of journalists.