On this World Press Freedom Day, France expresses its deep concern over growing restrictions on the freedom of the press worldwide and increasingly widespread information manipulation. In Ukraine, the Russian aggression has been accompanied by massive information manipulation campaigns. In Russia and Belarus, the freedom of the press has been drastically restricted. In Mali, RFI and France 24 have suspended indefinitely. In Afghanistan, international media outlets have been banned from broadcasting, while numerous local media outlets have been forced to close since the Taliban seized power. In China, we have seen increasing attacks on the rights of both national and foreign journalists and on the conditions in which they can do their work. This is especially true for Hong Kong, where the erosion of freedom has led to the arrest of many journalists and the shuttering of independent news media.
France reaffirms its resolute, unwavering commitment to the freedom of the press, freedom of speech and protection of journalists worldwide. France is taking concrete action to guarantee access to reliable, quality information. To that end, Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian joined with Reporters without Borders to launch the International Partnership for Information and Democracy, which now enjoys the support of 45 nations. Because the safety of journalists is absolutely essential to the freedom of the press, France is also working to allow journalists who are under threat to pursue their missions. It is why we welcomed and offered protection to a large number of Afghan journalists who were at risk because of the work they do. We support initiatives to welcome, assist and train Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian journalists and media professionals who are in danger because of the war in Ukraine and who, in some cases, want to come to France. In this regard, Mr. Le Drian strongly advocated for the establishment of a platform by France Médias Monde and the media development agency, CFI, to support and assist Ukrainian and Russian journalists in Bucharest. Freedom of the press also assumes the existence of free, independent, pluralistic media outlets based on a sustainable financial model. In 2020, France allocated more than €43.2 million to fund projects supporting media outlets in various countries.
Championing the freedom of the press and free speech are key concerns of the French EU presidency, especially in the digital sector. The recent agreement on the European regulation of digital services (DSA) will help strengthen the transparency and responsibility of digital platforms with regard to content moderation. France also supports the European Media Freedom Act proposed by the European Commission, which should help bolster media independence by dealing with issues of governance and the financing of media structures.