On June 26th, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres gave a speech regarding the importance of the freedom of the press to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Correspondents Association.
Mr. Guterres addressed journalists from all corners of the world as he applauded UNCA’s devotion to the truth. The Secretary General saluted and remembered journalists around the world who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of freedom of the press, and expressing solidarity with the noble cause.
“I want to express to you my deep gratitude for the work you are doing,” said Mr. Guterres at the beginning of his speech, as he addressed the crowd of journalists. After being introduced by Sherwin Bryce-Pease, correspondent for the South-African broadcasting and UNCA’s President, Guterres highlighted that many journalists are undergoing difficult situations at the moment, stating the believes “humanitarian workers and journalists” to be the two professions most at risk in today’s world.
“It is hard to find fake news regarding UN’s activities,” continued Mr. Guterres, noting that the press coverage of the UN has been exceptionally truthful. “It is because you are faithful to the cause: to let the general public know the truth about what happens here, and therefore about the international community’s effort in facing the challenges of today’s world.”
He remembered the many journalists who perished in different parts of the world in pursuit of freedom of the press, and he paid a tribute to the 81 who died last year alone, and the 250 who were jailed, reminding the crowd that: “it is the responsibility of everyone to respect the freedom of the press and it is responsibility of the UN to struggle to ensure that the freedom of the press is indeed fully respected.”
UNCA’s annual directory reception was held next to the UN headquarter’s Garden of Roses, as guests and journalists were offered foods and spices from all parts of the world. Italian food and wine were, as usual, the protagonists, and the Secretary-General toasted to the crowd with Gorghi Tondi, a fine wine from the Sicilian vineyards of Mazara del Vallo.