» Stakeholders support UNESCO framework on the safety of journalists in Honduras
05.10.2017 - UNESCO Office in San José

Stakeholders support UNESCO framework on the safety of journalists in Honduras

The UNESCO regional office for Central America in San Jose, Costa Rica continues to dialogue with stakeholders on the development of the Honduran Strategic Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The online dialogues are an extension of the Conference on the Safety of Journalists and the Fight against Impunity which took place on 2 October 2017 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. During the event UNESCO presented a draft framework plan which was revised by a wide range of partners including Reporters Without Borders, the College of Journalists and the Association of the Honduran Press. The framework was the result of previous consultations with other partners including the Freedom House, Article 19, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The over 70 participants including the Vice Minister of Human Rights Norma Cerrato were in agreement of the need for such a strategic document and developed recommendations for strengthening the document and generated ideas about the initiatives that should be implemented in Honduras in the areas of prevention and protection of journalists. The plan is a collective response to challenges such as intimidation, harassment, physical and digital threats, and assassinations that journalists, including women face. The combination of these challenges, including the murders of over 25 journalists during the last ten years which were condemned by the UNESCO Secretary General, creates an atmosphere of fear, promotes self-censorship and lowers the level of press freedom and freedom of expression.

The inter-sectoral plan which will be completed by the end of 2017 is guided by the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and is based on strategic cooperation at the national, regional and international levels between all stakeholders including journalists, the government, universities and NGOs, to promote the safety of journalists. The plan outlines all the areas in which stakeholders will work together, outlines mechanisms to facilitate coordination and the development of policies and initiatives, and the reduction of duplication of efforts and initiatives by various partners. The plan which places an emphasis on gender equality covers several strategic areas including the following:

Raising awareness on the threats facing journalists

  1. Capacity building for journalists, security forces, journalism students, journalism professors and other key stakeholders
  2. Proving legal support to journalists
  3. Developing protection mechanisms and programmes

The finalization of the strategic plan will be followed by the development of an action plan which will identify the specific activities and projects to be implemented by various partners from 2018.

UNESCO's role in the development of both the national action and strategic plans, and the organization of the Conference reflects its coordinating role in the implementation of the UN Plan of Action. The UN Plan of Action which is a strategic framework recognizes that the safety of journalists and the fight against impunity requires continuous collaboration and coordination at all levels of society.

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