21.11.2012 - Communication & Information Sector

2nd UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists starts tomorrow in Vienna

© UNODC/UNESCO

The 2nd UN-Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity will take place tomorrow and Friday, 22-23 November in Vienna, Austria. The meeting is being convened by UNESCO and co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

This working meeting aims to finalize a concrete Implementation Strategy 2013-2014 for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

Four countries have been selected to be the first to implement the UN Plan of Action, namely Iraq, South Sudan, Pakistan and Nepal. Preparations are also underway to extend the implementation of the UN Plan of Action to Latin America.

The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity was drafted during the first UN Inter-Agency Meeting, which took place in September 2011 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, upon request of UNESCO’s International Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).  The Plan was subsequently endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board in April 2012.

The UN Plan of Action marks the first effort to systematically bring the UN family of agencies together to address the worsening situation of the safety of journalists, media workers and social media producers, and of the culture of impunity surrounding the crimes against them.

Twelve UN agencies, representatives from UN Country Teams and UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, will be participating.

More than 40 non-governmental organizations and international organizations, in addition to media professionals, other intergovernmental organizations and national authorities, will also be at the meeting. This broad cross-section of participation underlines the multi-stakeholder approach of the UN Plan of Action. The breadth and depth of the issues on safety and impunity preclude any singular and narrow approach. These are challenges that have the best chances of being ameliorated by harnessing the collective expertise and resources of a broad coalition of stakeholders.

The meeting, which is structured according to the UN Plan of Action's main action lines, aims to identify ways to:

  • strengthen the various UN mechanisms, such as the Special Rapporteurs’ office;
  • work more effectively with the governments at the country level;
  • strengthen partnerships between relevant organizations to maximize the collective expertise;
  • increase global and national awareness of the issues;
  • improve preventive safety measures, such as through the establishment of safety provisions including trainings and insurance services for journalists and emergency response mechanisms.

The second day of the meeting, 23 November, coincides with the International Day Against Impunity, which is led by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a network of 90 international, regional and local media organizations worldwide. The date was chosen as a remembrance of the Ampatuan Massacre in 2009, during which more than 30 journalists and media workers were murdered in a single day. To this day the investigation of the crime is still unresolved.

The Austrian Government is the main sponsor of the 2nd UN Inter-agency Meeting which has also received a contribution from the Open Society Foundation, via DEMOS Guatemala.

For more information concerning the meeting and to access the live web-streaming of the meeting, please visit the website at www.unesco.org/webworld/en/2UN-meeting-safety.




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