03.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

UNESCO and UNIC Rio launch Portuguese language website and publication of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists

To mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Brazil and the Information Centre of the United Nations Brazil (UNIC Rio) launched the Portuguese version of the “UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity” on Thursday, May 2nd. The document was prepared jointly by UN agencies, funds and programs to support the fundamental right of freedom of expression in ensuring that citizens are well informed to participate actively in society.

The website, www.segurancadejornalistas.org , was also launched. Besides the Plan of Action itself, information about its adoption and data on violence against media professionals in Brazil and the world can also be found on the site, as well as current news items on the topic.

The implementation strategy for the Plan of Action, translated into Portuguese by Vladimir Herzog Institute, includes:
•    helping governments to develop laws to safeguard journalists and mechanisms in support of freedom of expression and information;
•    raising awareness of the harmful consequences of journalists’ free speech being curtailed or diminished;
•    training journalists on security and digital security, and the provision of health insurance and life insurance;
•    establishing mechanisms for real time emergency response;
•    strengthening the security for journalists in conflict zones;
•    decriminalizing defamation;
•    encouraging appropriate  remuneration for both full-time and freelance professionals;
•    increasing protection for women journalists in response to the rising incidence of sexual harassment and rape.

In a joint message observing World Press Freedom Day, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, recalled that more than 600 journalists have been killed in the last ten years, many while reporting in non-conflict situations.
“A climate of impunity persists – nine out of ten cases of killings of journalists go unpunished. Many media workers also suffer intimidation, threats and violence or arbitrary detention and torture, often without legal recourses”, they said.

“We must show resolve in the face of such insecurity and injustice. The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, ‘Safe to speak: securing freedom of expression in all media’, aims to rally international action to protect the safety of every journalist in every country and to break the vicious circle of impunity”, affirmed Ban and Bokova. Accordingly, these goals are the basis of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity:

Information for the press

UNESCO no Brasil
Ana Lúcia Guimarães, ana.guimaraes@unesco.org.br , (61) 2106.3536
Isabel de Paula, isabel.paula@unesco.org.br , (61) 2106.3538

Valéria Schilling, valeria.schilling@unic.org
Gustavo Barreto, gustavo.barreto@unic.org , (21) 2253.2211

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