Pompeo, Haley mark World Press Freedom Day
© Greg Nash

Two of President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE's Cabinet members on Thursday marked World Press Freedom Day, a day recognized by the United Nations each year to draw attention to the state of press freedom around the globe.

"On the 25th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, we renew our commitment to promoting and protecting a free press, which is an essential pillar of democracy," Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Pence to deliver keynote at fundraising banquet for South Carolina-based pregnancy center Russia suggests military deployments to Cuba, Venezuela an option MORE, who was just recently sworn in as the nation's top diplomat, said in a statement.

"Today, we honor the many journalists and media actors who have dedicated their lives, often at great risk, to promote transparency and accountability throughout the world," he added. 

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyBiden sparks confusion, cleanup on Russia-Ukraine remarks The 10 Republicans most likely to run for president Will — or should — Kamala Harris become the Spiro Agnew of 2022? MORE echoed the sentiment in a statement shared on Twitter, saying "a free country cannot exist without a free press."

"Journalists serve as eyes and ears to the rest of the world and as storytellers for those unable to speak for themselves, often doing so at great risk," she said. "On World Press Freedom Day, we honor them and their determination to bring truth to the world."

The day, first set aside by the U.N. General Assembly in 1993, serves as an opportunity to "celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom" and spotlight abuses by governments toward journalists, according to the U.N.'s website.

A total of 32 journalists have been killed around the world so far this year, according to the International Federation of Journalists. That includes 10 media professionals who were killed Monday in a suicide bombing and shooting in Afghanistan.

This year's total is slightly higher than it was by World Press Freedom Day in 2017, and the number of journalists killed each year has been increasing on average since the 1990s.