05.06.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Increasing the safety of journalists. New initiative by UNESCO, NHRCN, Ministry of Information and Communications

UNESCO will present a new two-year project “Increasing the safety of journalists” aimed at improving the security situation of journalists and media professionals by a multi-level approach based on the comprehensive framework of the “UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity” on 7 June 2013.

Funded with a budget of USD 566,500 by the United Nations Peace Fund for Nepal (UNPFN), the project aims to contribute to the establishment of sustainable peace and the rule of law by helping protect the freedom of expression.

The safety of journalists has continued deteriorating in recent years. Professional journalists associations have expressed serious concerns over the increased number of incidents of violence against media professionals. The degradation of the safety situation of media professionals and the climate of impunity have direct impact on the content they produce as many journalists are forced to practice self-censorship. In this environment, the project is both timely and contextual to Nepal, which is among five countries identified for the first-phase roll out of the UN Plan of Action.

“Journalists play an essential role in the peace process.  But they must be safe to be able to provide people access to non-partisan information”, says Axel Plathe, UNESCO Representative to Nepal and the Head of UNESCO Office in Kathmandu.

Working with professional journalists associations, international media rights organizations, human rights organizations and security and judicial bodies, the project will establish a nationally owned independent mechanism to provide appropriate framework to tackle the issue of journalists’ safety and impunity.  As a complementary action, it will also build capacity of security and judicial agencies to play their role to protect journalists and sensitize political groups and the general public on the importance of freedom of expression.  Another important element of the project is building capacity of male and female journalists to better protect themselves.

Journalists’ safety and the issue of impunity have been the focus of the celebrations of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which is organized each year on May 3 under the umbrella of UNESCO.

Globally, UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right, through sensitization and monitoring activities. It also fosters media independence and pluralism as prerequisites and major factors of democratization by providing advisory services on media legislation and sensitizing governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers.

The project is being managed by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Communications and the National Human Rights Commission Nepal and many other organizations working for human rights and media development.

 

 

Kathmandu, 5 June 2013

Press release UNESCO/KAT 09/2013




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