The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
Ambassador James D. Pettit
November 2, 2017
A free and independent media is the cornerstone of a democracy. It is no accident that the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of the people to think, speak, and publish their views and opinions. Without the ability to voice concerns, to challenge the opinions of neighbors, and to demand accountability from government, freedom ceases to exist.
An empowered media isn’t always pleasant for those of us in the government. As the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, I am often asked difficult questions. Sometimes the press asks me questions that are uncomfortable. Sometimes they ask questions about policies we haven’t yet formulated. Sometimes the timing is inconvenient.
But through it all a strong media makes us better. It forces us to look at our policies and ask: Does this make sense? Does it actually accomplish what we are trying to do? Does it support the core democratic values we hold dear? A free and independent media is the whetstone against which the sword of truth and justice is sharpened.
The United Nations has declared this as the Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, and I call upon my colleagues to embrace the true spirit of this day. We are troubled when we receive reports, as we have this year in Moldova, of alleged harassment of journalists. We monitor these reports closely, and urge the government of Moldova to respond swiftly to all such cases. It’s what all legitimate governments must do. The United States will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the democratic principles of a free and open media are protected in the Republic of Moldova. Thank you.