Each year on May 3, many nations around the world celebrate the freedom of the press and their independence. In several countries, freedom of the press is non-existent. In recent months, our regional segment in our newscast has featured stories where dozens of reporters have either been jailed or killed by higher authorities. For 2017, Belize has fallen five places on the list of World Freedom Press Index and is now ranks at 41 out of the one hundred and eighty countries evaluated. According to the Reporters without Borders, in Belize, the, ‘Coverage of political developments and criminal cases in Belize is polemical because the media have become polarized. This often results in legal proceedings that are long and costly for media outlets. Cases of threats, intimidation, and harassment of journalists are occasionally reported. Because of inadequate infrastructure, Internet access is among the slowest and costliest in the Caribbean.” End of quote. In celebration of this year’s World Press Freedom, the UN’s Secretary General, Antonio Guterres delivered a brief appeal on behalf of reporters worldwide.
Coming at the top of the list when it comes to World Press Freedom were Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. In commemoration of World Press Freedom, the US Embassy took some members of the media on a helicopter ride on the UH60 Blackhawk. The helicopter hovered over the work sites for the Beyond the Horizon Project and went as far as the Xunantunich Maya Temple in Succotz Village, Cayo District. The Blackhawk also did a hover over the Belize Zoo where children had gathered celebrating National Tapir Day. We will have the details on the Beyond the Horizon Project in tomorrow’s newscast.