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'Vital' role of journalists stressed ahead of World Press Freedom Day

The National Union of Journalists and Amnesty International Ireland joined together today to remember journalists who have been killed during the course of their work.

Image: A. Germain via Creative Commons/Flickr

THE NATIONAL UNION of Journalists and Amnesty International Ireland have stressed the “vital role” of freedom of expression as they joined together to mark World Press Freedom Day, which takes place tomorrow.

Representatives from the groups are laying a wreath at the Veronica Guerin memorial in Dublin Castle today in memory of all journalists who have been killed during the course of their work. NUJ Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley said that – like Guerin – most journalists are killed, injured or threatened “not in distant war zones, but at home.”

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, condemned the continuing imprisonment of journalists:

Journalists imprisoned the world over by governments scared of their crimes being exposed must be released. In particular, the Chinese authorities must release imprisoned journalist Shi Tao, sentenced to 10 years for exposing their efforts to manipulate coverage of pro-democracy activists.

NUJ Vice President Barry McCall said called on people to remember that 62 journalists were killed while carrying out their work last year. ”It is our duty to ensure that each one of those journalists is remembered. Here in Ireland we know the pain felt by the murders of Martin O’Hagan and Veronica Guerin, both NUJ members committed to the highest principles of journalism,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists have released a updated list of the world’s most censored countries:

1. Eritrea

2. North Korea

3. Syria

4. Iran

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5. Equatorial Guinea

6. Uzbekistan

7. Burma

8. Saudi Arabia

9. Cuba

10. Belarus

Read: Digital censorship grows as media moves online

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