UN Secretary-General Pledges Support for Journalist Safety - Praises INSI
New York - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged his strong support for the safety of journalists and promised to work for the creation of the necessary security and political conditions for the news media to work free from danger.
He praised the work of the International News Safety Institute (INSI) in this regard and pledged to work closely with INSI in continuing the effort begun when the Security Council adopted Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists last December.
The Secretary-General was speaking during a meeting in his office with INSI Director Rodney Pinder on 3 December. Pinder presented him with a copy of "Killing The Messenger", INSI's review of news media casualties over the years 1996-2006.
Ban Ki-moon emphasized the Security Council and the United Nations as a whole must continue the work begun with the adoption of the text. He commended INSI on its efforts to provide protection of journalists and for its contribution to the adoption of the resolution.
He said he would continue to play an advocacy role and expressed hope that INSI would continue to report on this issue and to keep the United Nations informed.
Pinder noted that news media deaths had continued to rise even since last December. Already, 2007 was a record year with at least 171 fatalities.
Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, said during the meeting that the Secretary-General had instructed the United Nations to engage in a year-long campaign to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 on freedom of expression would be part of this effort, as would attention to the issue of safety of journalists.
Pinder said he appreciated the Secretary-General's words, saying that his support made a big difference to journalists facing danger. "Your voice is heard and we appreciate it," he said.
Ban Ki-moon reiterated his full commitment and support for INSI's work and sent his best wishes to all INSI members.
Meanwhile the Third World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF3), meeting in Malaysia on 10-11 December, has urged the Secretary-General create in his office a post of Rapporteur for the Protection of Journalists in peace and war with instructions to report annually on progress under terms of Resolution 1738.
Following a debate on journalist safety chaired by Pinder, WEMF3 also called on States to implement 1738 "in letter and spirit" and end impunity for those who kill journalists.
The text of the recommendations:
Session 4: The Safety of Journalists: Protecting the truth-tellers
WEMF2 resulted in the passage in December 2006 of UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on the Safety of Journalists in Conflict. Since then the numbers of news media killed have continued to rise. Bearing in mind the importance of freedom of expression to human rights, the WEMF3 calls upon the UN Secretary General to appoint in his office a Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Journalists in peace and war to report to the Secretary General annually on progress in nations adhering to the terms of the Resolution.
WEMF3 calls upon States to implement Resolution 1738 in letter and spirit, to end impunity for those who kill Journalists and other news professionals, to investigate incidents of violence against news media, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Any questions about this news release should be addressed to Rodney Pinder, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile +44 7734 709267