UN Chief Antonio Guterres Calls for Safety of Journalists

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

With constant harassment, unlawful detention, threats and intimidation, journalism has become a very dangerous profession particularly during the 12-year period (from 2006 to 2017).

A report by UNESCO looking into global trends associated with journalists’ safety shows an increase in the number of journalists killed around the world.

Right now is a critical time for journalists safety, 530 journalists were murdered, with only 10 percent of those responsible for the killings facing any sort of justice.

In his speech marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 88 journalists have been killed this year so far.

Citing deep concern “by all human rights violations and abuses committed in relation to the safety of journalists, and media workers, including killing, torture, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest…” the Human Rights Council issued a resolution on the safety of journalists.

The resolution focuses on creating an enabling environment for media, and calls on political leaders to stop denigrating journalists and reinforces international criticism of political leaders who have sought to continue to undermine trust in journalists.

The resolution also calls on States to use 2 November 2018, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, as a chance to launch concrete initiatives to provide better protection for journalists in their countries.

Despite numerous prevention, protection, monitoring and complaint mechanisms, journalists continue to be targeted at an alarming rate. It seems nearly daily there are reports on attacks against a journalist somewhere in the world.

The latest case of the Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey has once again served to highlight the dangers many journalists face.

But it isn’t just killings that affect journalists. There has been an increase in unlawful detention, arrests, constant threats, and harassment of journalists.

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Rakesh Raman