A free and independent press, including online, is a pillar of vibrant societies. Yet, its future is in jeopardy.
Press freedom is declining across the world, as surveillance of journalists and violations of the confidentiality of sources become more common. Reporters are often victims of government orders to shut down media websites or blogs in the name of national security or public order.
Journalists and their sources are taking enormous risks right now in making sure crucial stories get told. In today’s environment, where trust in online information is at an all-time low, we need free, safe and independent journalists more than ever.
This is why, as the Internet Society participates in World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) in Indonesia on 3-4 May, we are calling on governments to support encryption rather than seeing it as a threat, and on all journalists to use encryption to protect their research, their communications, their sources, and themselves.
ISOC’s Senior Director for Global Internet Policy, Constance Bommelaer, has been invited to draft with other stakeholders the Jakarta Declaration. Based on our input, the Declaration should encourage the deployment of encryption to ensure trust online and to support the safety of journalists and the confidentiality of their sources. This is an important and positive signal to the international community.
We believe everyone has a role to play to make the Internet more trusted and secure. Here is what you can do:
* Read and share Constance Bommelaer’s piece on the importance of encryption for journalists
* Secure your data: EFF, CPJ and RSF offer security tips for journalists and non-journalists to secure their communications
* Watch our Twitter feed and retweet any and all calls to action for the week. You can use the hashtags #pressfreedom and #WPFD2017
* Participate in World Press Freedom Day celebrations around the world
* Tune in on May 4, 2:15 pm (UTC+7) to see Constance on UNESCO’s panel on a Universal Internet
As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, we must remember that rebuilding trust in the news is a complex and long process and we each have a role to play. Encryption can be one of the steps towards a brighter future for a free and independent press.