Pope Francis on Sunday paid tribute to journalists who have died or been imprisoned in the line of duty, defending a free press and applauding journalists who bravely report on “humanity’s wounds.”
Francis mentioned the United Nations World Press Freedom Day in his weekly address and blessing to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
“I render homage to journalists who pay in person for this right,” he said, citing statistics that 47 journalists were killed and more than 350 jailed last year.
He did give the source of the statistics. UNESCO, the U.N. organisation that sponsors World Press Freedom Day, said earlier this year that 55 journalists and media workers were killed in 2021.
“A special thanks to those who, with courage, keep us informed about humanity’s wounds,” the pope said.
Last month Francis honoured journalists killed covering the Russia-Ukraine war, saying he hoped God would reward them for serving the common good.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says it has confirmed that at least seven journalists have died while covering the war in Ukraine and is investigating whether others were killed because of their work.
Reporters Without Borders, which is based in Paris, says it has documented a number of attacks directly targeting journalists wearing “Press” arm bands in Ukraine.