Safety of Journalists
The price paid by journalists is becoming heavier. After respect has been paid to the victims for their courage, increasingly urgent questions emerge. How to protect the right of all citizens to reliable information and the right of journalists to provide this information without fearing for their safety?
Have the countries, the international organizations, and media institutions put in place all possible means to limit the risks incurred by journalists? Can reporters be efficiently prepared, and by whom, to face the dangers? In the past 10 years, more than 500 journalists have been killed, the majority of them are not war correspondents. They are not dying in crossfire, but rather by being hunted down and murdered, often in direct reprisal for their reporting. Indeed, the majority of these attacks did not occur during situations of active conflict, and were often perpetrated by police, security personnel and militia as well as by non-state actors such as organized crime groups. Hence, local journalists are the most vulnerable.
Attacks on journalists include murder, abductions, hostage-taking, harassment, intimidation, and the illegal arrest and detention of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel as a result of their professional activities.
Most abuses against journalists and media workers remain uninvestigated and unpunished. This issue is also an important one to be addressed. The failure to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice leads to impunity that perpetuates the cycle of violence against journalists, including community media workers and citizen journalists. Also, the curtailment of their journalistic contribution deprives society as a whole since they lack information to fully realize their potential and results in a wider impact on press freedom where a climate of intimidation and violence leads to self-censorship.
Guaranteeing media professionals the right to work free from the threat of violence is essential for the full implementation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It is a duty of the State and of society to create and maintain the conditions needed for these fundamental human rights to be enjoyed by all. >>> Read more
2nd UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity
The event took place at the United Nations Office in Vienna on 22-23 November 2012. >> Read more