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Message of the President of Latvia on World Press Freedom Day

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As we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day today, we must remember that freedom of speech is the basic component of human personality and humanism, which are undermined by authoritarian regimes and “well-meaning” anonymous social media “content administrators” and automated algorithms alike.

Freedom of speech must be as unrestricted as possible.  In case of countries governed by the rule of law, it should be at the sole discretion of democratically elected legislature, which must respect the specific views of people expressed on public platforms and define absolutely clear criteria for countering factual disinformation, as well as guaranteeing efficient access to justice through independent national authorities and courts.

Legal persons, i.e., global platforms, and officials must be held liable for any attempts to infringe upon freedom of speech.

We must protect the greatest gift of the Enlightenment and democracy – our freedom of speech and freedom of thought, the building blocks of humanism.

Given its totalitarian past, and the occupation, this issue is specifically important for Latvia. We must, therefore, lead other democratic nations around the world, which value their rule of law and take active stance against overt and “creeping” censorship of free speech and freedom of thought – this equally applies to online outlets – irrespective of who does it. We support freedom and human rights. We do not support censorship.


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