World Press Freedom Day 2022

Threats to independent journalism in democracies around the world

4th May 2022
Swedish Radio’s Director-General Cilla Benkö gives keynote address at press freedom conference in Washington. 
Cilla Benkö and Jason Rezaian during discussion
Cilla Benkö and Jason Rezaian during discussion. Credit: The Swedish Embassy in Washington

This article was originally posted on Sveriges Radio.

The Swedish Embassy in Washington on 3 May arranged a conference together with the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on the occasion of UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day 2022. Swedish Radio´s Director-General was the keynote speaker at the conference ”Defending Women’s Voices – The Rising Threats Against Women in Media and Politics” and spoke about how independent journalism is threatened in democracies globally.

The speech (available in full below) focused on media freedom and independent journalism that is under pressure, not least due to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, and cannot be taken for granted anywhere in the world.

In the speech, Cilla Benkö identified six trends that in various ways threaten media freedom and pointed to several examples of how this development can be met and stopped.

Read more: Swedish Radio in 2022

Following the speech Cilla Benkö discussed the issue with Jason Rezaian, Washington Post´s former Teheran Bureau Chief, who in 2015 was accused of espionage and jailed in Iran for 544 days.

The Swedish Ambassador to the USA, Karin Olofsdotter, opened the conference that was held at the House of Sweden in Washington along with the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde, who participated via link from Sweden and with Jennifer Klein who is the Chair and Executive Director, of the White House Gender Policy Council. Among the participants where members of the media, civil society and other persons involved in press and freedom of expression as well and gender policy issues.

The World Press Freedom conference in Washington. Credit: Swedish Radio

This article was originally published by Sveriges Radio and is republished with permission. Cilla Benkö is the Director-General of Sveriges Radio and a PMA Board Member.