Crackdowns against journalists must end: UN chief

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Journalists wait for the arrival of official delegations at the Geneva II Conference on Syria, in Montreux, Switzerland. UN Photo/Violaine Martin

Crackdowns against journalists must end, said the UN Secretary-General, in a message to mark World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday.

António Guterres said that the "free media" needed leaders to help it "counter prevailing misinformation" in countries around the world.

Matthew Wells has more.

The international day marked each 3 May, celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom and highlights those who have lost their lives, for simply doing their job.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is leading the worldwide celebration and organizing the main event this year in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The UN chief said journalists went to the most dangerous places "to give voice to the voiceless."

"Media workers suffer character assassination, sexual-assault, detention, injuries and even death. We need leaders to defend a free media. This is crucial to counter prevailing misinformation. And we need everyone to stand for our right to truth. On World Press Freedom Day I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists because a free press advances peace and justice for all."

Mr Guterres said that when journalists are protected, their words and pictures have the power to change the world for the better.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 54"

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