(HN, April 30, 2011) US President Barack Obama, pausing during a mostly humour-filled White House Correspondents Dinner this evening, defended the right of journalists to do their job around the world.
Speaking in front of 3,000 guests at the annual event in Washington, D.C., Obama said journalists are increasingly under threat.
Said Obama: "In the last months we have seen journalists threatened, arrested, beaten, attacked, and in some cases even killed - simply for doing their best to bring us the story..giving people a voice and holding people accountable.
"And through it all we have seen daring men and women risk their lives for the simple idea that no one should be silenced and everyone deserves to know the truth."
He said reporting by journalists is "especially important in times of challenge - like the moment America and the world is facing now."
The US President paid tribute to "those that have been lost as a consequence of extraordinary reporting that they have done over recent weeks. They help too to defend our freedoms and allow democracy to flourish."
According to the figures collected by Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization that fights for the rights, freedom, and protection of journalists worldwide, 25 journalists were killed in 2002, 64 in 2005, 87 in 2007, and 18 since the beginning of the year.
Earlier this month, award-winning photo-journalist and documentary film-maker Tim Hetherington and a colleague were killed while reporting on the ongoing conflict in Libya.
- HUMNEWS staff