Estonian Formin's deputy sec-gen in Santiago: Journalism shapes public attitudes

  • 2024-05-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - On Friday, at a conference dedicated to World Press Freedom Day organized by UNESCO in Chile, Minna-Liina Lind, deputy secretary general for global affairs at the Estonian Foreign Ministry, stated that journalism plays a crucial role in shaping public attitudes.

"Journalists and media workers bring the truth to the public," Lind said at the event held in Santiago, Chile. "They play a key role in sharing the stories that society needs to know."

This year's conference, marking the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, focuses on journalism covering climate and environmental issues. Lind noted that journalism plays a key role in raising societal awareness about the climate and environmental crisis.

"There are still heated debates over climate change being man-made, despite a wealth of fact-based evidence," Lind stated. "Journalists have played a significant role in shaping environmental policies by bringing these facts to the public."

At the margins of World Press Freedom Day, the UNESCO/Guilhermo Cano award is also presented annually. This year, Palestinian journalists covering events in Gaza received the award for their extraordinary courage and resilience. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), nearly 100 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza over the past seven months.

Lind reaffirmed Estonia's commitment to protecting and supporting journalists so that they can perform their vitally important work for society. This year, Estonia rose two places to sixth in the press freedom index and contributes to the promotion of media freedom, the protection of journalists, and the fight against misinformation through the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC). As a co-chair of the MFC, Estonia helps journalists bring fact-based information to the people. Estonia has been a co-chair of the MFC since July 2023. With Belgium's recent accession, the coalition's membership has grown to 51.

On the sidelines of the conference, there was also a meeting and workshop of the MFC leadership group to discuss strategic issues that create further opportunities to protect journalists and promote media freedom. Additionally, an MFC side event will take place on Saturday, featuring opening remarks by the Estonian Foreign Ministry' special envoy for human rights, Katrin Kivi.

"We're seeing efforts to silence journalists around the world," Kivi said. "The MFC strives to ensure through extensive cooperation that media workers can do their job because journalism is a cornerstone of democracy."