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World Press Freedom Day 2024

Dear colleagues!

Today, May 3, we are once again celebrating World Press Freedom Day, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Unfortunately, press freedom has not increased globally over these years, nor has democracy. Reporters Without Borders will publish the latest edition of the World Press Freedom Index today too, and many circumstances indicate that the decline in press freedom will continue.

These topics also intersect with agriculture and food production. As our president, Lena Johansson, highlighted in the latest newsletter from (IFAJ) in March, politics will always have an influence on agriculture and food production. These topics are used “as a means of power in many conflicts and even as a weapon to win wars,” Lena wrote.

Considering that our area of coverage is related to the food supply for the world’s population, it is not difficult to see why agricultural journalists and communicators cannot stand outside the fight for freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and for democracy.

Although conflicts or wars may not be prevalent everywhere, the nexus between agriculture and politics is global. This connection affects not only individuals and national decision-makers but also businesses, given the significant opportunities and risks associated with agriculture and the food industry.

As professional journalists and communicators, we must navigate through these complexities while supporting and encouraging one another in our efforts to do a reliable job on our own terms. This can be challenging, especially when working in authoritarian countries, where caution is necessary. Even when offering support from safer environments, there’s a risk of unintentionally causing harm by not fully understanding the constraints faced by our colleagues.

Over the years, the IFAJ Freedom of the Press Committee has issued statements, particularly in response to instances where colleagues have faced pressure from authorities in their respective countries. While the outcomes of these actions have sometimes been questioned, it’s essential to recognize that inaction is not justified simply because actions may not always yield immediate results.

However, in recent months, we have also tried to focus on a new project to compile links to institutions, organizations, and foundations that our members can access for assistance when encountering challenges with authorities while carrying out their duties. We aim to publish this link collection on the IFAJ website this year and update it when needed.

In the meantime, let’s continue to stand in solidarity with each other!

On behalf of the IFAJ Freedom of the Press Committee,

Michael “Micke” Godtfredsen