Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees human rights and democracy, introduced the World Press Freedom Protection and Reciprocity Act, which seeks to protect and promote worldwide press freedom and enhance reciprocity for U.S. news and media outlets.
U.S. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the House.
“Authoritarian regimes around the world continue to use sophisticated tools to censor the free flow of information and to silence independent media. Countries like Russia and China take advantage of open societies to spread their propaganda,” Rubio said. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan World Press Freedom Protection and Reciprocity Act, that will hold accountable those individuals who target journalists and stifle press freedom. This bill reaffirms the United States’ commitment to advancing the principles that are critical for healthy democracies.”
“Across the globe, journalists are targeted with impunity as repressive regimes attempt to cover up their own corruption, brutality and incompetence. Far too often, reporters face intimidation and imprisonment. We have only seen attacks against journalists and media personnel increase with the coronavirus pandemic, which authoritarian regimes have exploited to crack down on press freedom,” Senator Cardin, author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act said. “A strong and independent media, free from political pressure and censorship, is fundamental to sustainable and accountable democracy. The United States must use the Global Magnitsky Act and all tools available to hold accountable those individuals who violate the human rights of those who serve such an essential function in our open society.”