By Ritah Kemigisa
As journalists across the globe mark the World Press Freedom Day, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed fear that the covid-19 pandemic poses a great threat to press freedom.
In his message, Guterres says the pandemic has undermined the critical role of reliable, verified and universally accessible information in saving lives and building strong, resilient societies.
He says the situation continues to worsen and yet the economic impact of the pandemic has hit many media outlets hard, threatening their very survival.
“In too many countries, they run great personal risks, including new restrictions, censorship, abuse, harassment, detention and even death, simply for doing their jobs. The situation continues to worsen,” says Mr Guteress.
According to Guteress, as budgets tighten, so too does access to reliable information hence creating a gap for rumors, falsehoods and extreme or divisive opinions which tend to surge.
He has now urged governments to do everything in their power to support a free, independent and diverse media which is key in combating misinformation and disinformation.
Today, marks 30 years of the Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic African Press.
The day is running under the theme “Information as a public good.”