NEW YORK—The New York State Senate introducing and passing a resolution to mark World Press Freedom Day affirms the centrality of the free press to our democracy, PEN America said in a statement today.

On April 30, 2019, the New York Senate has introduced and passed a resolution to commemorate May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, the first-ever legislative effort to do so domestically. The resolution, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, is intended galvanize New York support and protection for press freedom at a time when attacks on journalists are on the rise in this country and amid declines in local news that would otherwise inform civic participation. Passage of the New York state Senate resolution comes on the eve of World Press Freedom Day this Friday, May 3 and is part of a larger national initiative to spark broad recognition for local press freedom in cities across the country.

“Free expression is more important than ever as we witness journalists threatened, jailed and killed across the world, including in the United States,” said New York Senator Brad Holyman, sponsor of the resolution. “I’m proud to stand up for the integrity of a free and open press by passing this resolution, and grateful to PEN America for their essential work to safeguard free expression in New York and across the country.”

This is part of a nationwide initiative by PEN America to recognize World Press Freedom Day in cities across the United States. From Cincinnati to Denver and Atlanta to Minneapolis, we are proud to collaborate on these activities—working to empower and galvanize a community of press freedom advocates to speak up on behalf of local news, elevate communities often overlooked or misrepresented in media, encourage local leaders to prioritize this issue, and defend the journalists who speak truth to power.

“We are honored to have worked with Senator Hoylman on this important and groundbreaking legislation,” said Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer of PEN America. “In leading the way for other state and local leaders to support press freedom through legislative action, the New York Senate has underscored the essential role of journalism in undergirding democracy. As an organization that fights for free expression all over the world, we have grown alarmed by rising threats to the role of the press right here in the US. Taking a stand in the home base of so many leading global news outlets, we hope the resolve of Senator Hoylman and New York State to lead the fight on behalf of a free press is an inspiration to lawmakers across the country and around the world.”

Since 1993, the United Nations has recognized World Press Freedom Day annually around the globe on May 3. It has been a day dedicated to affirming the fundamental principles of press freedom, celebrating the positive impact journalism has on communities, honoring journalists for the work they do to hold the powerful accountable, and standing up on behalf of those who have been silenced, imprisoned, or killed.

Learn more about PEN America’s press freedom efforts and activity, and how you can bring World Press Freedom Day to your community at pen.org/free-press-2019. To introduce and pass a resolution in your city, see our template resolution.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: agasparian@pen.org