In commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, the Embassy of the United States of America in Brunei Darussalam hosted a screening of the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary, ‘Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People’ for journalists and media representatives. The event took place last Saturday at the Mutiara Ballroom, Radisson Hotel in the capital.
A welcoming address by U.S Ambassador Caryn McClelland underlined that World Press Freedom Day serves as a reminder of the need to respect press freedom, celebrate the fundamental of the press in informing the public, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in pursuit of the truth.
“The United States government supports a free and independent press because of the vital role it plays in our democracy. Our press connects citizens to the information they need to be able to advocate for themselves, make informed decisions, and hold government officials accountable,” she said.
She further stated that press freedom is being eroded worldwide where journalists face censorship, harassment, imprisonment, and even death for their reporting, and citizens, at the same time, are struggling to distinguish accurate information from fake news.
“The United States is committed to working in partnership with members of the media, the private sector, non-government organisations, and other concerned governments to support access to information and defend freedom of expression and the brave journalists who face intimidation, harassment, arrest, and violence in exercising their rights,” she added.
She also highlighted several professional development programmes and exchanges for journalists and journalism academics offered by the U.S Embassy, including the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Study of the U.S Institutes (SUSI) exchanges, and Foreign Press Center Reporting Tours.
The documentary depicts the life of the pioneering newspaper owner and how he redefined American journalism. Pulitzer is an American icon who warned of the dangers of ‘fake news’ over 100 years ago.
Following the film screening, journalists joined U.S Embassy officials for a discussion of the challenges they face in their work and how U.S Embassy programmes can help in their professional development.