Presidents of UNESCO General Conference, UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council issue a first statement on Safety of Journalism
The three presidents, Abdulla Shahid, President of the UN General Assembly; Santiago Irazabal Mourão, President of the General Conference of UNESCO, and Federico Villegas, President of the Human Rights Council, addressed the World Press Freedom Day Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay to underline the importance of the multistakeholder coordination framework, instigated by the UN, known as the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted by the UN principals in 2012.
Still, they say, too many challenges prevail, including high levels of impunity for crimes against journalists, a rise in the number of journalists detained and an increased legal harassment against them, online violence, the use of surveillance tools to hinder the journalist’s work, increased attacks on women journalists, and the rise of killings in non-conflict environments.
Journalism vital for democracy
The three presidents emphasise the role journalism plays in society. “Each and every day, we are reminded of how vital the information [journalists] provide is for democracy, the promotion and protection of human rights, fighting corruption, sustainable development and preserving international peace and security.”
Call on stakeholders to join forces
The statement reiterates that it is the last decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and raise the importance to remember the contribution of freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information to all other rights, such as quality education, the eradication of poverty, and access to justice and healthcare.
As truly committed to the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the presidents singled out the SDG Target 16.10, which will through its implementation, contribute to building a safer and more enabling environment for journalists and media workers, and protect the right of every citizen to reliable, and, often, lifesaving information.
For further information:
- Joint statement by Presidents of UNESCO General Conference, UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council on Safety of Journalism
- 2021 UN General Assembly resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity,
- 2020 Human Rights Council resolution on the safety of journalists,
- 2021 Windhoek+30 Declaration on information as a public good.