With journalism becoming an ever-more dangerous profession, a United Nations committee has voted to create an international day to protect journalists although the numbers of them being jailed, wounded and killed is piling up, particularly in countries with low media freedom ratings and where conflicts rage.
Reporters Without Borders welcomed the move and said 89 journalists were killed while working in 2012, the highest number in nearly two decades. The UN General Assembly’s human rights committee voted unanimously to make November 2 each year the International Day To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists to mark the day that French radio journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were killed by militants in Mali this year.
More than 70 countries co-sponsored a resolution which called on UN states “to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists” and to carry out “impartial, speedy and effective investigations” of attacks on media workers. The resolution has no weight and is non-binding.
Reporters Without Borders Secretary General Christophe Deloire said “another 52 journalists have been killed in connection with their work since the start of 2013.” He said the group was “outraged” by the killings of the French reporters in Mali “as we have been by the murders of fellow journalists in Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Brazil and other parts of the world in 2013.”
“The safety of journalists is an essential prerequisite for achieving freedom of expression, democracy, social development and peace,” Deloire added.
“The safety of journalists is an essential prerequisite for achieving freedom of expression, democracy, social development and peace. The resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly and the cause symbolized by the date chosen for International Day to End Impunity are more crucial than ever. “By choosing this date, the United Nations is sending a strong message to those who persecute journalists. It is vital that all UN bodies continue to proclaim the importance of combatting impunity for those responsible for physical attacks against journalists.”