KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 – The European Union (EU) has called upon all governments to put an end to intimidation, harassment, censorship and arbitrary detention of journalists. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton said free, diverse and independent media constituted one of the cornerstones of a democratic society by facilitating the free flow of information and ideas to ensure transparency and accountability. “Efforts to protect journalists should also cover support for the staff and others who use new media to reach a mass audience,” said Catherine in a statement in conjunction with the 21st anniversary of World Press Freedom Day today.
Besides creating novel methods of promoting the freedom of expression, she said, technological innovations in information communication and technology (ICT) have also resulted in new challenges. “Therefore, the EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified restrictions on the internet and other media on the basis that all human rights which exist offline should also be available online. “The EU will soon adopt the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and offline to address unjustified restrictions on freedom of expression, promote media freedom and provide valuable guidance to EU officials and staff across the globe,” she said.