Impunity for violence against journalists and gender balance in the media on agenda for UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication
A Report by the Director-General of UNESCO on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, will be presented to the Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) when it meets in Paris on 22 and 23 March. The Report provides information on the 127 killings of journalists condemned by UNESCO in 2010 and 2011. It also includes the responses UNESCO’s Member States have provided to the Director-General’s inquiries about judicial investigations into each of the killings condemned from 2006 to 2009.
Statistics gathered by UNESCO testify to the staggering number of journalists and media workers killed while performing their professional duties.
The Report notes that “in most cases, these journalists were reporting on local conflicts, corruption and other illegal activities, and many of these attacks were perpetrated by police and security personnel, militia as well as non-state actors, such as organized crime groups.”
According to the Report, few investigations have led to convictions (p. 20). The document highlights the pressing need to end impunity for such crimes, which constitute the ultimate violation of the right to freedom of expression. Out of the 245 killings of journalists that were condemned by the Director-General from 2006 to 2009, UNESCO has received information from Member States on 101 cases and only nine of these advise that the killers have been convicted.
During its meeting, the IPDC's Council will also consider a draft United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. This is the first UN-wide initiative to curb violence against media workers mobilizing all relevant UN agencies. It has been prepared in cooperation with other UN bodies, Member States, NGOs, professional associations and media outlets.
Once adopted, the Draft UN Plan of Action will be presented to the UN General Assembly. The draft was developed at a UNESCO conference in Paris last September.
On 23 March, the IPDC Council will examine the issue of gender balance in the media. Participants will discuss UNESCO’s new Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media, a tool designed to gauge gender sensitivity in the media both in staffing and content.
The aim of the indicators is to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through all forms of media, irrespective of the technology used. They are intended to identify gender imbalances so as to facilitate corrective measures.
The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to promote media development in developing countries and to help secure an empowering environment for free and pluralistic media there.
The meeting will not only bring together the IPDC’s members, but a wide range of media NGOs from around the world, representatives of UN agencies and media professionals. Over the past three decades, the IPDC has channelled almost $100 million to some 1,500 media development projects in more than 140 countries.
Media contact: Roni Amelan, UNESCO Press Service, +33 (0)1 45 68 16 50, firstname.lastname@example.org
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