(Senate - May 03, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 76 (Wednesday, May 3, 2017)]
[Page S2725]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS



  Mr. CASEY (for himself, Mr. Rubio, and Mr. Wyden) submitted the 
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign 

                              S. Res. 150

       Whereas Article 19 of the United Nations Universal 
     Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in Paris, France, on 
     December 10, 1948, states, ``Everyone has the right to 
     freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes 
     freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, 
     receive and impart information and ideas through any media 
     and regardless of frontiers.'';
       Whereas, in 1993, the United Nations General Assembly 
     proclaimed May 3 of each year as ``World Press Freedom Day'' 
     to celebrate the fundamental principles of freedom of the 
     press, evaluate freedom of the press around the world, defend 
     against attacks on the independence of the media, and pay 
     tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the 
     exercise of their profession;
       Whereas, on December 18, 2013, the United Nations General 
     Assembly adopted a resolution (United Nations General 
     Assembly Resolution 163 (2013)) on the safety of journalists 
     and the issue of impunity, that unequivocally condemns, in 
     both conflict and nonconflict situations, all attacks on and 
     violence against journalists and media workers, including 
     torture, extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, 
     arbitrary detention, and intimidation and harassment;
       Whereas the theme for the 2017 World Press Freedom Day, is 
     ``Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media's role in 
     advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies'';
       Whereas the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act of 2009 
     (22 U.S.C. 2151 note; Public Law 111-166), which was passed 
     by unanimous consent in the Senate and signed into law by 
     President Barack Obama in 2010, expanded the annual Human 
     Rights Reports of the Department of State to include the 
     examination of freedom of the press;
       Whereas, the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, published by 
     Reporters Without Borders in April 2016, indicated ``a 
     climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control 
     over newsrooms by governments and private sector interests'';
       Whereas, the 2016 World Press Freedom Index identified a 
     decline in media freedom across all indicators, especially 
     the destruction of media infrastructure, like the facilities 
     and equipment of media, and the adoption of legislative 
     frameworks that unjustly penalize journalists for doing their 
       Whereas, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 
     in 2016, the three deadliest countries for journalists were 
     Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, with more than half of the 
     journalists killed in combat or crossfire, for the first time 
     since the Committee to Protect Journalists began keeping 
       Whereas, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 
     in 2016, 48 journalists were killed in cases where the motive 
     was confirmed to be related to their reporting, 28 
     journalists were killed in cases where the motive was 
     unconfirmed, and 2 media workers were killed;
       Whereas, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 
     impunity for the murder of journalists remains systemic, with 
     the killers going free in 9 out of 10 cases;
       Whereas, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 
     as of December 1, 2016, 259 journalists worldwide were in 
     prison, the highest number recorded since the group began 
     systematically tracking imprisonment in 1990;
       Whereas, according to the Freedom House report ``Freedom of 
     the Press 2017'', only 13 percent of the world's population 
     enjoys a Free press, meaning ``coverage of political news is 
     robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state 
     intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not 
     subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.'';
       Whereas freedom of the press is a key component of 
     democratic governance, activism in civil society, and 
     socioeconomic development; and
       Whereas freedom of the press enhances public 
     accountability, transparency, and participation: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) expresses concern about the threats to freedom of the 
     press and expression around the world;
       (2) welcomes the celebration of World Press Freedom Day 
     2017 on May 3, 2017;
       (3) commends journalists and media workers around the world 
     for their essential role in promoting government 
     accountability, defending democratic activity, and 
     strengthening civil society, despite threats to their safety;
       (4) pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives 
     or liberty carrying out their work;
       (5) calls on governments abroad to implement United Nations 
     General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/68/163) by thoroughly 
     investigating and seeking to resolve outstanding cases of 
     violence against journalists, including murders and 
     kidnappings, while ensuring the protection of witnesses, and 
     by reporting on the status of investigations;
       (6) condemns all actions around the world that suppress 
     freedom of the press;
       (7) reaffirms the centrality of freedom of the press to 
     efforts of the United States Government to support democracy, 
     mitigate conflict, and promote good governance domestically 
     and around the world; and
       (8) calls on the President and the Secretary of State--
       (A) to preserve and build upon United States leadership in 
     freedom of the press, on the basis of First Amendment 
       (B) to improve the means by which the United States 
     Government rapidly identifies, publicizes, and responds to 
     threats against freedom of the press around the world;
       (C) to urge foreign governments to conduct transparent 
     investigations and adjudications of the perpetrators of 
     attacks against journalists; and
       (D) to highlight the issue of threats against freedom of 
     the press in the annual Human Rights Reports and year round.