Crimes against journalists can not go unpunished – the EU
The work of journalists becomes especially important for a democratic society in times of crises, wars and conflicts, which is why no crime against journalists, oppression or intimidation can go unpunished.
This is said in the joint statement of EU High Representative Josep Borrell and European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová, which was made public on the eve of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, which is celebrated on November 2, writes Ukrinform.
"There can be no impunity for human rights violations and abuses against journalists. We call to establish national frameworks for the safety of journalists, that include awareness raising, prevention, protection, and prosecution elements, with an attention to include specific measures for women journalists and those belonging to minority groups," reads the document.
The EU representatives stress: in these difficult times, marred by wars, conflict and terrorist acts, journalists and media workers play an essential role in fighting for the truth and for human rights. Journalists contribute to counter disinformation and hate speech and to keep checks and balances on governments and public institutions. They shed light on war crimes and human rights violations, sometimes at the risk of their own lives.
"We firmly condemn the killings, physical attacks, arbitrary detentions, online and offline intimidation, harassment, and surveillance, that journalists at times face while exercising their profession. Media worldwide continue to be raided or closed, and journalists are increasingly targeted by legislation that curtails freedom of expression, and by abusive litigation, thus limiting pluralism, editorial independence, and infringing freedom of expression," says the statement.
According to the document, the EU remains committed to support independent journalists and media workers everywhere. They will continue to mobilise all the diplomatic tools at our disposal to raise attention to individual cases of journalists in detention or at risk.
To this purpose, the EU has established ProtectDefenders.eu to provide journalists at high risk with physical and digital protection, legal support, and relocation. Under the Global Europe Human Rights and Democracy programme, the EU provides €185 million for support to independent media for the period 2021–2027, harnessing digitalisation worldwide.
"Protecting journalists means protecting our own rights. Democracy cannot work without free and independent media. This is why the EU is also taking unprecedented steps at home to protect journalists. We call on Member States to implement the Commission Recommendation on the safety of journalists. The proposal for a Media Freedom Act aims to safeguard their independence and media pluralism," reads the statement.
Independent NGOs document an impunity rate of 80% for murders against journalists over recent years. As of October 2023, the UNESCO Observatory on killed journalists documents 688 ongoing and unresolved cases concerning the murder of journalists.
The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists was established by the UN General Assembly in 2013. The date, November 2, was chosen in memory of the two French journalists who died in Mali on this very day.
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