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Pope defends media freedom, pays tribute to killed reporters

On Sunday, Pope Francis paid tribute to journalists who have died or been jailed in the line of duty, defending the freedom of press and praising those in the media who courageously report on “humanity’s wounds”.

During his weekly address and blessing in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis referred to the upcoming United Nations World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on May 3.

“I pay homage to journalists who pay in person for this right,” he said, citing UNESCO statistics that 47 journalists were killed and more than 350 jailed last year. “A special thanks to those who, with courage, keep us informed about humanity’s wounds,” he added.

Speaking to reporters on the plane returning from a trip to Malta on April 3, Francis honoured journalists killed covering the Ukraine war, saying he hoped God would reward them for serving the common good.

At least seven journalists have died while covering the war in Ukraine, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which is investigating whether the same fate was shared by others. Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says it had documented a number of attacks directly targeting journalists wearing “Press” armbands in Ukraine.

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