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On Inauguration Day, RSF Urges Biden-Harris Administration To Support The #PressFreedomPact

As President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris take office on January 20, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on them to take immediate leadership on press freedom by signing the Press Freedom Pact. Members of Congress are also urged to sign the pact to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring First Amendment protections for journalists are respected, after a spate of detentions and assaults against those covering the recent riot in Washington, DC.

Ahead of November’s elections, RSF called on all candidates running for public office to sign the Press Freedom Pact -- a pledge of just under 50 words demonstrating their commitment to protecting the principles of press freedom. Nearly 50 candidates took up this call and signed the pact, five of whom won their seats. With the start of the 117th U.S. Congress and the swearing-in of the new Biden-Harris administration, RSF is opening up the Press Freedom Pact for signature by all Members of Congress regardless of where they stand politically - and urging President Biden and Vice President Harris to show leadership by supporting it themselves.

“The type of verbal attacks, physical assaults, and overall lack of respect towards members of the media that we have seen during the past four years is abhorrent and unacceptable. We urge President Biden and Vice President Harris to take concrete action early in their administration to put a stop to violence against journalists and ensure that First Amendment protections are respected by signing this important initiative,” said Anna K. Nelson, Executive Director of RSF USA.

According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker - of which RSF is a partner - in 2020 alone, 342 journalists were assaulted and 123 arrested in the U.S. in connection with their work. This comes against a global backdrop of 50 journalists killed in 2020, with a staggering two-thirds of journalists killed in countries meant to be “at peace,” and 387 journalists jailed at the end of the year in connection with their work.

“There has never been a clearer, more urgent need for strong leadership to ensure the safety of journalists and protection of press freedom globally. We call on President Biden and Vice President Harris to demonstrate that leadership by taking immediate action to repair the United States’ deteriorating press freedom record at home and its image as a clear defender of press freedom internationally,” said RSF’s Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

The U.S. is ranked 45th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

Notes:

  • For more information on the #PressFreedomPact, visit the campaign landing page on RSF’s website, or contact RSF USA communications manager Collin Boylin at cboylin@rsf.org or via telephone at (202) 813-9497, extension 3.

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