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DW-WORLD.DE Celebrates Press Freedom

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Blick in das Wohnzimmer der neuen Praesidentensuite des Hotels Adlon in Berlin, am Dienstag, 2. Mai 2006. Die Direktion des Luxushotels am Pariser Platz stellte bei einem Pressetermin die fuer rund vier Millionen Euro neu gebaute, 240 Quadratmeter grosse Suite vor. Zum Preis von 20.000 Euro pro Nacht sind Sauna, Fitnessraum, Kueche, Esszimmer und Kamin inklusive, ebenso ein Butler namens "Ricardo" und eine Limousine. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) --- Interior view of the living room of the "President Suite" of the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, photographed during a press visit on Tuesday, May 2, 2006. The luxury hotel on Tuesday presented the new 240 square meters suite to the media, which has been newly buit for some four million Euro (US$ 5.05 million). The price for a night at the "President Suite" costs 20,000 Euro (US$25,275) and includes sauna, gym, kitchen, living room, an open fireplace, a butler and a limousine. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Press freedom is a fiction in many of the world's countries. Governments consciously hinder the media's work by passing laws that restrict the press, fostering an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, harassing and imprisoning journalists or even killing them.

The media, however, continue to play a crucial role in strengthening democratic principles and promoting the development of civil society. Recognizing the media as a force of change, the UN observes World Press Freedom Day on May 3 every year.

DW-WORLD's coverage of recent events in Germany and Europe -- ranging from the raid on the offices of a political magazine in the German town of Potsdam to the international protests following the publication of Mohammed caricatures in a Danish newspaper -- shows that freedom of the press remains of utmost importance for the functioning of Western democracies. But it also highlights how the free media can turn into a point of contention in intercultural relations.

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