Address by Peter Greste at the Freedom of the Press Act celebration event
To celebrate the anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act, which was introduced in Sweden and Finland 250 years ago, the public debate "Marking 250 years of Freedom of the Press" was held on December 1st at SSE Riga with the participation of guest of honour Peter Greste – the Al Jazeera journalist, who was charged with ‘damaging national security’, accused of supporting a terrorist organization and spent 400 days in a Cairo prison.
“We all know that a free, untrammelled press is a fundamental part of a functioning society. We wouldn’t be here to mark such an important anniversary if we didn’t. In a way, it is a little like blood carrying the oxygen of ideas through our societies, keeping them healthy and vibrant,” addressing the audience at SSE Riga stressed Australian-Latvian journalist Peter Greste.
"While we have responsibility to lift our game and restore some measure of public confidence, politicians must also recognize what we stand to lose if they are too swift to criminalize free speech, lock up people who challenge their wisdom, or limit the work that the media does."
"It is all too easy, too tempting for governments to use the war on terror as a convenient excuse for dragging the slider to the right, to claim more power in the interests of national security, trading off the media's oversight role in the process."