New York – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) was joined on Wednesday by prominent journalists and press freedom advocates to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square, recognising 30 years of World Press Freedom Day.
The bell ringing ceremony was hosted by Brian Buckley, senior vice president, and chief marketing officer at Nasdaq, and included a speech by CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg.
Ginsberg was joined by CPJ Board Chair Kathleen Carroll and board members Diane Brayton, Peter Lattman, and Matt Murray.
Also in attendance were José Zamora, whose father – journalist José Rubén Zamora – is imprisoned on retaliatory financial charges in Guatemala, and Sebastien Lai, whose father – media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai – is imprisoned in Hong Kong awaiting trial on national security charges that could keep him jailed for life.
The CPj reports that guests also included Guilherme Canela De Souza Godoi, Andrea Cairola, and Kristjan Burgess of UNESCO, as well as representatives from Lais international legal team, including Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC. CPJ staff members also joined the ceremony.
In her speech, Ginsberg called for the immediate release of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter wrongfully detained in Russia, and underscored the urgent need to stand with journalists whose reporting will not be silenced even if they are behind bars.
Ginsberg thanked Nasdaq for marking World Press Freedom Day.
“Every day, when we wake up, we seek information,” said Ginsberg.
“From weather and traffic reports to news of political developments at home and abroad, to whether our favorite sports team has finally won, we turn to journalists for the information we need for our daily lives.
“For economies big and small, it is the free flow of information that keeps markets running.
“For two years, as we navigated an unprecedented pandemic, journalists dove in, counting the dead where governments wouldnt.
“They shed light on the human devastation and unraveled the science, helping us to keep safe.”
Ginsberg said as Russia waged war on Ukraine, it was journalists who helped shed light on what was happening.
“When a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, it was journalists who helped document and explain the chaos,” said Ginsberg.
“Journalists around the world provide the news that is essential for democracy, for personal freedom, and for safety and stability.
“Yet their ability to report freely and safely is under attack like never before.”
Death threats, online harassment, and physical violence are becoming a daily experience of journalists in all countries.
Last year, 67 journalists and media workers were killed and most were reporting not on war but on corruption and crime. Most were local journalists, operating without the protection of an international spotlight.
Imprisonments are also rising.
Some 363 journalists were in jail at the end of 2022 – the highest number ever recorded by the CPJ.
And recently another journalist fell prey to a repressive government that has virtually outlawed reporting the truth.
“Im speaking about Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter arrested in Russia on March 29 for doing his job. We demand his immediate release,” said Ginsberg.
“Please join us and stand with Evan. Stand with a free press. Stand with journalists whose reporting wont be silenced even if they are behind bars because Press Freedom is Your Freedom.”
*This article was first published by the Committee to Protect Journalists