Human Rights Council members should adopt resolution on safety of journalists
27 Sep 2012
ARTICLE 19 welcomes the draft UN Resolution on the Safety of Journalists. We urge the member states of the Human Rights Council to adopt it as a matter of priority.
The resolution is a much needed step towards fighting impunity in cases of violence against journalists, media workers and other communicators. It is particularly relevant at this time, with violent attacks and other forms of harassment towards journalists and media workers on the increase.
The resolution has been tabled on behalf of Austria, Brazil, Morocco, Switzerland and Tunisia.
ARTICLE 19 welcomes the fact that the resolution:
- Acknowledges the special role of journalists as providers of information in the public interest
- Recognises that journalists’ role as public watchdogs puts them in a precarious situation and at increased risk of legal and physical intimidation, harassment and violence
- Condemns impunity
- Calls upon states to conduct independent, speedy and effective investigations, bringing to justice those responsible and ensuring that victims have access to appropriate remedies.
The resolution details a range of positive measures that states should adopt to ensure a safe environment for journalists. These include:
- Introducing legislative measures
- Raising awareness of the relevant international standards among the judiciary, law enforcement officers and military personnel, as well as journalists and civil society
- Monitoring and reporting attacks against journalists
- Publicly condemning any such attacks
- Putting in place specific protection programs based on local needs and challenges and tailored to the individual circumstances of those at risk.
ARTICLE 19 believes that the resolution would be improved by incorporating the recommendations of the 2012 Joint Declaration on Crimes Against Freedom of Expression.
- It should recommend that legal measures for protecting journalists include a specific category of “crimes against freedom of expression” in their criminal law. This should either be explicit or included as an aggravated circumstance leading to heavier penalties for such crimes. Due to their serious nature, these crimes should be subject to either unlimited or extended statutes of limitations.
- It should also recommend comprehensive measures to ensure that all cases of violence against journalists are speedily and effectively investigated. Wherever possible, the investigations should be carried out, by specialised and dedicated investigative units with sufficient resources and appropriate training to operate efficiently and effectively.
ARTICLE 19 campaigns for the end of violence against journalists, media workers and human rights defenders around the world. We urge the Human Rights Council to adopt the draft resolution by consensus and strengthen its commitment to fight impunity.
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