UK: Government must take more action on media freedom

Protection 3 min read
ARTICLE 19

ARTICLE 19 has welcomed the Foreign Affairs Committee’s calls for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s global media protection campaign to “move beyond rhetoric” and “demonstrate impact in defending media freedom’. 

Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes said:

The Foreign Affairs Committee is right to recognise that we need action not more words when it comes to protecting journalists around the world. 

From our global campaigning, we know that it is a lack of political will that enables governments and others to attack, falsely imprison and kill journalists with impunity. 

We support calls for the creation of a UN mechanism that could investigate crimes against journalists to ensure evidence is collected and justice delivered.  

We also urge the UK Government to prioritise human rights over business interests, and put public pressure on governments who commit or sanction abuses against journalists.”

It is also imperative that the UK Government uses the opportunity of the report to seriously improve its own record on media freedom. This includes reforming a number of problematic laws that restrict freedom of speech, as well as refraining from the prosecution and harassment of those who exercise their right to freedom of speech and right to protest in the UK.”

ARTICLE 19 and other freedom of expression organisations, outlined 11 commitments for the states who attended the FCO’s Global Media Freedom conference in July. 

Inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia

ARTICLE 19 also supports the specific recommendations for making Malta, Saudi Arabia and Turkey more accountable for ongoing abuses against journalists.

In June the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution calling on Malta to carry out an independent public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia by September 26.

Although the Maltese Government publicly confirmed at the UK Media Freedom Conference on 11 July that they will carry out an inquiry, ARTICLE 19 understands that little has been done and we are concerned that the Maltese authorities will fail to meet the PACE deadline. We call on the FCO to apply public pressure on Malta to immediately establish an independent public inquiry.

The Foreign Affairs Committee’s report is available here.

Contact

For more information, contact Pam Cowburn: [email protected], 07749 785 932.