18.11.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO welcomes Report on Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity


The fifth Report of UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova, on the killings of journalists and judicial follow-up has been welcomed by the Intergovernmental Council of the Organization’s International Programme for the Development of Communication.

A Decision by the 39 Member States in the Council further expressed that they were “deeply disturbed by the increase of acts of violence against journalists, media workers and social media producers in many parts of the world, including in countries which are not considered as conflict areas.”

The Report by the Director General records the names of 827 journalists killed over the past decade, and 213 during 2014 and 2015.

The IPDC Council Decision also expressed concern at the continued high rate of impunity for the killers, and noted “the signal that this sends that violence against journalists can go unpunished”.

The Director-General’s Report records that the percentage of Member States who have responded to the Director-General’s ongoing enquiries about impunity has now risen to 65%.

Responding to this, IPDC’s Council expressed appreciation for “the efforts of the Member States that have provided information to the Director-General on the status of the judicial investigations of killings of journalists”.

In addition, the Council expressed appreciation that the Director-General’s Report “has been recognized by the UN Statistical Commission as a contribution towards the Sustainable Development Goal 16 target 10, as one of the resources for monitoring the safety of journalists and the danger of impunity”.

The Decision invited the Director-General to reinforce future Reports by:

  • Also collecting information on actions taken by Member States to promote the safety of journalists and to combat impunity, as a way to share good practices;
  • Improving data collection on killings and judicial process in order to provide these data as part of the UN’s monitoring of SDG 16, target 10;
  • Strengthening data disaggregation in order to highlight the specific risks faced by women journalists in the exercise of their work”.

The Decision further urged Member States to monitor the safety of journalists as part of their fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goal target 16.10 on public access to information and fundamental freedoms. It encouraged UNESCO to continue to support Member States in their reporting and monitoring mechanisms on safety and impunity.

A new brochure explaining the significance of IPDC’s monitoring and reporting on safety and impunity was distributed at the Council meeting.

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