Press Release

April 30, 2021
Cardin and Rubio Reintroduce World Press Freedom Protection and Reciprocity Act Ahead of World Press Freedom Day

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have reintroduced 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. The bill was introduced ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3.

“We extend our thanks to the countless journalists in the U.S. and across the globe who safeguard the values of truth, democracy and justice through their work despite the risks, hardships and obstacles in their path, including campaigns to flood the zone with disinformation and propaganda” Senator Cardin said. “A deadly pandemic and authoritarian repression have made it more urgent that the public receives the truth and clear information to keep them and their loved ones safe and government accountable to its people. For the future of our democracy, the United States must be a leader in the effort to protect the freedom of the press at home and abroad.” 

“As authoritarian regimes worldwide continue to repress and censor members of the independent media, I’m proud to reintroduce the bipartisan World Press Freedom Protection and Reciprocity Act,” Senator Rubio said. “From Russia, to Cuba, to Iran, to Venezuela, to Turkey, and especially in China, journalists continue to be targeted and freedom of the press remains under attack. I thank Senator Cardin for his partnership on this important issue as we continue to advance the freedoms critical for healthy democracies.”

The World Press Freedom Protection and Reciprocity Act:

(1)    Provides a statement of U.S. policy on protecting journalists worldwide;

(2)    Requires the administration to establish a plan to negotiate reciprocal access for U.S. news and media organizations, and their employees, globally;

(3)    Authorizes sanctions against foreign persons responsible for jailing, killing, or torturing journalists and those that threaten the safety of U.S. journalists and media personnel;

(4)    Requires clear labeling of information distributed by foreign governments; and

(5)    Enhances reporting requirements on press freedom concerns in the State Department’s annual human rights reports