Minister pledges resources to fight ‘persecution’ of journalists worldwide as MPs debate ‘worsening’ climate for press freedom

The Foreign Office will dedicate as much time and money as possible in 2019 to “stop the intimidation, harassment and persecution of journalists across the world”, a minister has pledged.

MPs spoke out yesterday in support of the international protection of journalists after former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale described 2018 as “one of the worst years on record for journalists being killed, imprisoned or held hostage”.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents last year.

Separate figures compiled by the Reporters without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists, put the death toll of journalists and media workers last year at 80 and 83 respectively.

Whittingdale said: “Journalists play a vital role in a free society. Their role in exposing corruption, in highlighting injustice and holding governments to account, helps to make a democracy function, but it does not always make them popular.

“Sadly in

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