Germany calls for greater protection of press freedom

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

Following reports of several violent attacks on journalists, the German government in Berlin has called for greater protection for press freedom around the world.

“Freedom of the press is a basic civil right and a fundamental basic liberty in every democratic society,” a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said on Monday.

The statement was prompted by the rape and murder of a Bulgarian journalist. “With great dismay we learned of the brutal and terrible murder of the journalist, Viktoria Marinova,” the spokesman said.

The 30-year-old journalist’s body was reportedly found in a park on the banks of the Danube in the Bulgarian city of Ruse on Saturday.

She had been beaten, raped and strangled, according to local media.
As there were still no solid indications of a motive for the murder, it was imperative that the case be cleared up quickly and comprehensively, the spokesman said.

Berlin is also concerned about the disappearance of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

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The Foreign Ministry spokesman said he would not speculate on what happened.

The Saudi dissident writer has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday; doubts persist as to whether he is still alive.

World Press Freedom Day is annually observed on May 3 to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to evaluate press freedom around the world.

Others are 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.

The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.