Over 600 journalists reporting in non-conflict situations killed in decade – UN
The United Nations (UN) has issued a call to action to guarantee the safety of journalists in every country.
In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday, Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General declared: “When it is safe to speak, the whole world benefits”.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“It is a cornerstone of good governance, sustainable development, and lasting peace and security.
“Yet every day around the world, journalists and media workers are under attack. They face intimidation, threats and violence from governments, corporations, criminals or other forces that wish to silence or censor”, said the UN boss.
The UN General Assembly designated May 3 as World Press Freedom Day in 1993.
This year’s theme: “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”, seeks to rally global action to protect the safety of all journalists worldwide and to break the vicious circle of impunity for crimes committed against them.
The theme highlights the need for action to upholding the right of journalists to carry out their vital work.
Mr Ki-Moon said from traditional media platforms such as radio, print and television, to newer and more and more popular social media, blogs and citizen-led reporting, journalists were increasingly at risk.
According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 600 journalists have been killed in the past decade, while reporting in non-conflict situations.
At least 120 in the past year alone while hundreds more have been detained.
Impunity is also widespread as nine out of 10 cases of killings of journalists go unpunished.
Mr Ki-Moon said the dangers were not only physical, from cyber-attacks to bullying; but that the powerful were deploying numerous tools to try to stop the media from shedding light on misrule and misdeeds.
“These are individual tragedies; collectively, they are an assault on the right of all people to the truth. I am especially concerned that so many of the perpetrators escape any form of punishment”, he added.
He said the United Nations system had established a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
The plan aims to raise awareness and to support practical steps to create a free and safe working environment for journalists.
“As we mark World Press Freedom Day, let us pledge to do our utmost to enable all journalists in all media to do their jobs”, said Ki-Moon.