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Brussels, 3 May 2011

Declaration by the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

"Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental pillars of our democracies and of the European Union.

The media play a crucial role in ensuring that citizens have access to ideas and information. This freedom must be preserved and reinforced wherever it is under threat. The European Commission has always been on the side of those who defend this fundamental value and there it will remain, in Europe and throughout the world.

On World Press Freedom Day, I wish to pay tribute in the name of the Commission to the daily battle that many journalists must fight, sometimes to the extent that their very lives are endangered. The threats that weigh on these journalists are unacceptable. Those who are imprisoned or held hostage today must be released without delay."

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