On 21 October, representatives of journalists, media workers, broadcasters and newspapers from around the world took the case for action against impunity for crimes against journalists and other media workers to the United Nations in New York.
Meeting with state representatives from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America, representatives of EBU, IFJ, WAN-IFRA and UNI MEI set out the case for a new UN Convention dedicated to the protection of media workers.
International Human Rights expert Carmen Draghici told the meeting that deliberate targeting of journalists and the systemic impact of attacks on media workers, stress that there is a clear case for a spefic instrument to tackle crimes against journalists and other media workers.
The proposed convention aims at systematising and detailing existing human rights obligations. Further it seeks to facilitate the understanding of international legal standards by domestic decision-makers and law-enforcement authorities and to enhance the visibility of journalists’ precarious position. To achieve better enforcement, it is proposed to set up a body of independent experts specifically entrusted with monitoring compliance with the new instrument.
UNI MEI is in support of the initiative launched by the IFJ last year and joined representatives of its sister organisation and representatives of WAN-IFRA, the world association of newspaper owners and the European Broadcasting Union for the meeting at the United Nations.
Addressing state representatives at the United Nations in New York,
Elena Perotti of WAN-IFRA thanked the IFJ for the initiative and said: “Impunity continues to dominate, the statistics are shocking. It is vitally important we now see some action. For too long a lack of political will has been the biggest impediment”.
IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “A journalist’s murder simply because of his or her activity is a scandal, but a far bigger scandal is that 9 out of every 10 journalists’ murders remain unpunished. The Khashoggi case, like all the others, illustrate that journalists are singled out as a target and as such they need dedicated protection”.
Johannes Studinger, Head of UNI-MEI told the meeting: “Not a week goes by without us receiving reports of yet more attacks or repression against media workers. Unless there is action, we fear that we will just keep talking about more and more attacks. We express our support for the IFJ initiative”.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Today was an important first step towards securing enhanced protection for journalists and media professionals. We welcome the support and commitment from member states and our fellow professional organisations and will continue to build a broader coalition to deliver real action on impunity”.
Dowload here the IFJ briefing paper and the draft UN convention.
To support the initiative, go to the IFJ website and sign-up.