Jakarta (ANTARA) - Political officer of the United States Embassy Jordan Younes stated that freedom of the press is the foundation of other rights.

"It's the foundation of other rights," Younes stated at a discussion held by @america, a cultural center managed by the United States Embassy in Jakarta, to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, here on Wednesday afternoon.

She said that freedom of the press is a vehicle for accessing information. It means that everyone can know what governments are doing.

"We can make informed decisions about where we want to spend our time. And reporting also helps us know what our elected officials are doing whether or not we want to elect them again," she remarked.

Younes affirmed that freedom of the press is also a marketplace of ideas, as it allows people to get diverse opinions. It can contribute to tolerance, build a more tightly bound society, and is also the first draft of history.

"It is fundamental to how we understand the past and what we can learn from. Hence, what reporters do, it is incredibly important," she noted.

"Without freedom of the press, we do not have freedom of expression. We cannot freely assemble. It undermines freedom of religion. Hence, I would argue that it is the foundation of other rights," she added.

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She also emphasized how the freedom of press contributed to the rights of all citizens. However, she also highlighted the threats faced by the press nowadays.

"The internet has really really changed how we access information but also how vulnerable journalists can be," she remarked.

"They are more accessible than ever. It is also easier for people to target with impunity, right like when journalists are hacked, it is very difficult to trace who the perpetrators are," she pointed out.

When the press is threatened, she further pointed out, it does not impact just journalists but that also leads to self-censorship. It leads to other reporters to just stop their work altogether.

"It often leads to the censoring of human rights defenders of people, who are advocating for labour rights, and then ultimately, it works its way up to the core of democracy," she stated.

Hence, Younes considered that steps were needed to protect journalists. She emphasized that efforts should also be made to continuously raise the profile of cases of journalists being targeted for their work.

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Reporter: Katriana
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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