Journalists provide ‘antidote’ to COVID-19 misinformation, UN chief says on World Press Freedom Day

Tehran, May 3, IRNA – The UN Secretary-General is calling for greater protection of journalists who are providing the “antidote” to what he has characterized as a pandemic of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Tehran, António Guterres made the appeal in a video message for World Press Freedom Day, observed this coming Sunday, in which he underscored the crucial role media has in helping people make informed decisions.

The full text of the UN chief's message is as follows:
 
Journalists and media workers are crucial to helping us make informed decisions. As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, those decisions can make the difference between life and death.  
On World Press Freedom Day, we call on governments -- and others -- to guarantee that journalists can do their jobs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 
As the pandemic spreads, it has also given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories. 
The press provides the antidote: verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis. 
But since the pandemic began, many journalists are being subjected to increased restrictions and punishments simply for doing their jobs. 
Temporary constraints on freedom of movement are essential to beat COVID-19. But they must not be abused as an excuse to crack down on journalists’ ability to do their work. 
Today, we thank the media for providing facts and analysis; for holding leaders – in every sector – accountable; and for speaking truth to power. 
We particularly recognize those who are playing a life-saving role reporting on public health.  
And we call on governments to protect media workers, and to strengthen and maintain press freedom, which is essential for a future of peace, justice and human rights for all. 

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