UNESCO is organizing a series of regional consultations with local stakeholders to take a stock of the progress and challenges to protect journalists in the last ten years and to strategize how to implement the Plan more effectively, building upon the success stories and the lessons learned in the specific context of each region. Two thematic consultations will focus on internet transparency and safety of women journalists, whose impact and significance to the safety of journalists has evolved in the last 10 years. Academic consultations will also bring reflections on how the academic community can contribute to advancing the Plan.
The consultations will inform a set of recommendations which will be presented at the High-Level Ministerial Conference in Vienna, Austria, on 3-4 November 2022. The Conference is convened by the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with UNESCO and OHCHR, to mark the 10th anniversary on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on 2 November.
The regional consultations are supported under UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP) and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
UNESCO publishes its latest figures on the global impunity rate for journalists’ killings. Although this figure remains unacceptably high, it represents an 9 percentage points reduction in the rate of impunity since 2012 when the United Nations launched its Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists.
Journalists who reveal stories of public interest are often attacked and killed. Already this year over 70 journalists have had to pay the ultimate price. 9 out of 10 killings go unpunished. Impunity for crimes against journalists affects the core of our freedoms of expression and information. Silencing a journalist has consequences for everyone. We cannot turn a blind eye to impunity. We cannot let their deaths be invisible to society.
More key new figures in the Report
Of the 117 journalists killed in 2020-21, 91 or 78% were killed while off the clock, for example, at home, in their vehicles or in the street but not on specific assignment. Several were killed in front of family members, including their children.
· The last year we have also seen the number of killed women journalists rising from 6-11% of the total, a worrying trend continuing this year.
· In the 2020-2021 period, 6 journalists were killed while covering protests, riots or demonstrations. This confirms the trend identified in the previous Director-General’s Report which noted a rise in the number of journalists killed in such contexts.
FACTS AND FIGURES: 10 YEARS OF IMPACT
26 UN resolutions on safety of journalists adopted since 2012 by UN General Assembly, UNESCO General Conference and the Human Rights Council.
A network of UN Focal Points for the Safety of Journalists within UN agencies, funds and programmes and increased number of reports by the Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression.
An International Coalition of Civil Society Organizations of Safety of Journalists, a Media Freedom Coalition of 50 countries, a Journalism Safety Research Network.
At least 50 National Protection Mechanisms for the safety of journalists established since 2012.
More than 24,000 judicial operators from 150 countries and more than 11,500 security forces from 160 countries trained on safety of journalists and freedom of expression. Over 500 lawyers trained in 30 countries and 1,000 cases of legal assistance provided to journalists.