The Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, aimed at promoting press freedom on a global scale, is set to be signed into law by US President Obama on May 17, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
“In many parts of the world, the freedom of the press is the last – or even the only – safeguard against the complete erosion of all human rights,” said Sen. Christopher Dodd, key sponsor of the bill in the US Senate.
The bill earmarks $2,000,000 dollars between 2010 and 2014 to have the US State Department produce an "Annual Report on the Status of Freedom of the Press Worldwide" and administer a freedom of the press grant program that "should promote and broaden press freedoms by strengthening the independence of journalists and media organizations" worldwide.
The new law aims to promote journalists and media organizations that themselves promote freedom of the press, as well as to document the press realities in countries where journalists are "killed, imprisoned, kidnapped, threatened, or censored." The law seeks to enact the concepts of freedom of the press as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into US foreign policy decisions. Furthermore, it seeks to provide increased protection to journalists in high risk countries by globally showcasing those countries' records.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Mike Pence sponsored the bill, designed "to highlight and promote freedom of the press worldwide," according to its preamble. It is named in honor of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by Islamic extremists in 2002 in Pakistan.
Accompanying Obama's signing of the bill into law will be a White House ceremony. Daniel Pearl's family will be in attendance.