Sen. Ossoff and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduce new legislation to establish a State Department office for protecting foreign journalists
According to Reporters without Borders, at least 539 journalists have been detained and 13 journalists have been killed since the beginning of 2023
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is working across the aisle to protect journalists and strengthen press freedom around the world.
Today, Sen. Ossoff introduced the bipartisan Global Press Freedom Act with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Todd Young (R-IN) to establish an office at the U.S. State Department dedicated solely to developing a free and independent press globally.
The bipartisan bill would designate an Ambassador-at-Large for press freedom and train Foreign Service Officers on how to promote media independence around the world, helping protect journalists abroad.
The Global Press Freedom Act is cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Colin Allred (D-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
“Every day, courageous journalists around the world put themselves in harms way in pursuit of truth and accountability. Supporting them and preventing conditions in which atrocities can occur with impunity is in the national interest and consistent with American values,” Sen. Ossoff said. “That’s why I’m working to bring Republicans and Democrats together to establish an Ambassador-at-Large for press freedom within the U.S. State Department.”
“Our democracy depends on the ability of journalists to ask tough questions, dig for the truth, and report what they find — without fear of violence or persecution. Freedom of the press is a priority in our founding documents, and it must be a cornerstone of our domestic and foreign policy,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill reasserts our commitment to a free press at home and abroad, empowering the State Department to engage with these issues diplomatically on the world stage.”
“Freedom of the press is essential to democracy, good governance, and holding those in power accountable. This principle was enshrined in our founding documents for that reason. Our proposal will empower American diplomats to support a free press around the globe,” said Senator Young.
The Global Press Freedom Act is backed by PEN America, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Freedom House.
According to Reporters without Borders, in 2023 alone, at least 539 journalists have been detained and 13 have been killed.
According to Reporters Without Borders’ 2023 World Press Freedom Index, the environment for journalism is “satisfactory” or better in just 3 out of 10 countries.
As a former investigative journalist, Sen. Ossoff is committed to protecting press freedom around the world.
In May, Sen. Ossoff led a bipartisan push to increase State Department resources forjournalist safety, such as direct emergency grants for reporters who find themselves at risk.
Last year, Sen. Ossoff convened a bipartisan group of Senators to push Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a new Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Safety of Journalists.
Click here to read the bipartisan Global Press Freedom Act.