Thursday is International Press Freedom Day, and newspapers all over the
world are reprinting this charter. It's provisions were approved by
journalists from 34 countries at a world conference in London in January
A free press means a free people. To this end, the following principles --
basic to an unfettered flow of news and information both within and across
national borders - deserve the support of all those pledged to advance and
protect democratic institutions.
1. Censorship, direct or indirect, is unacceptable; thus laws and
practices restricting the right of the news media freely to gather and
distribute information must be abolished, and government authorities,
national or local, must not interfere with the content of print or broadcast
news or restrict access to any news source.
2. Independent news media, both print and broadcast, must be allowed to
emerge and operate freely in all countries.
3. There must be no discrimination by governments in their treatment,
economic or otherwise, of the news media within a country. In those
countries where government media also exist, the independent media must have
the same free access as the official media have to all material and
facilities necessary to their publishing or broadcasting operations.
4. States must not restrict access to newsprint, printing facilities and
distribution systems, operation of news agencies, and availability of
broadcast frequencies and facilities.
5. Legal, technical, and tariff practices by communications authorities
which inhibit the distribution of news and restrict the flow of information
6. Government media must enjoy editorial independence and be open to a
diversity of viewpoints. This should be affirmed in both law and practice.
7. There should be unrestricted access by the print and broadcast media
within a country to outside news and information services, and members of
the public should enjoy similar freedom to receive both foreign publications
and foreign broadcasts without any interference.
8. National frontiers must be open to foreign journalists. Quotas must not
apply, and applications for visas, press credentials, and other
documentation requisite for their work should be approved promptly. Foreign
journalists should be allowed to travel freely within a country and have
access to both official and unofficial news sources and be allowed to import
and export freely all necessary professional materials and equipment.
9. Restrictions on the free entry to the field of journalism or over its
practice, through licensing or other certification procedures, must be
10. Journalists, like all citizens, must be secure in their persons and be
given full protection of law. Journalists working in war zones are
recognized as civilians enjoying all rights and immunities accorded to other