The fund to boost press freedom around the world was announced last week by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The money will be available for press freedom projects in countries where journalists and their work are under pressure.
Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said: “Following the publication of Reporters’ Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2017, it is deeply concerning that across the world we are witnessing an ongoing general erosion of press freedom in many countries.
“More frequently journalists are facing increased restrictions on their ability to hold power to account and the rate at which we are seeing democracies approach a tipping point is extremely alarming. From countries such as Mexico and Hungary to Turkey and, more recently with the shocking murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, more needs to be done to protect freedom of expression and the safety of journalists to fulfil the public’s right to know worldwide.
“The vital importance of freedom of expression will be discussed at the Society’s upcoming annual conference in Cambridge and the Society welcomes the government’s acknowledgement of the necessity for the UK to lead the way on this subject.”
The Foreign Secretary’s pledge came on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists and was announced after meeting trainee journalists at the London College of Communication.
He said: “As a former journalist I am alarmed that worldwide attacks on journalists are rife and increasing.
“Civil society is all about free people. Where governments fear freedom of expression they often try to shut down media and civil society, or clip their wings. This both violates human rights and crushes creativity.
“A free media is vital to creating a vibrant, informed and engaged population and helps to support a safer, more prosperous and progressive world."