WASHINGTON (WFXR) – U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have introduced the International Press Freedom Act of 2021 – a bipartisan bill promoting global press freedom by creating a Coordinator for International Press Freedom at the State Department.
The legislation would also authorize new funding for programs to help keep foreign journalists safe; use existing funding to prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes against journalists overseas; and create a new visa category to allow threatened journalists to come to the United States.
“Enshrined in both our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, press freedom is a core American value that we must constantly promote around the globe. With this bill, our country will let journalists know that we will protect their right to report and offer safe harbor when they are threatened.”Senator Tim Kaine
Monday, May 3 is World Press Freedom Day and according to a metric created by Reporters without Borders, the level of media freedom worldwide has declined by 12-percent since 2013.
Currently, 387 journalists are imprisoned around the world. Last year, 50 were killed in countries not at war.
In February, the Biden Administration declassified an intelligence report confirming that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman ordered the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and journalist.
This legislation expands and creates a dedicated fund for State Department programs to protect threatened journalists and requires the State Department to direct some of its existing law enforcement assistance towards preventing and solving crimes against journalists.
While foreign journalists can currently apply for refugee status, the wait to be resettled can last years or decades.
Scroll down to view the full text of the International Press Freedom Act of 2021.