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Stakeholders commit to implementation of UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
25 October 2022   |   4:06 am
As the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) draws nearer, UNESCO has said between 2006 and 2020, over 1,200 journalists were killed around the world, with close to nine out of 10 cases of these killings remaining judicially unresolved.

• Raise need to address gender-base violence against journalists
As the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) draws nearer, UNESCO has said between 2006 and 2020, over 1,200 journalists were killed around the world, with close to nine out of 10 cases of these killings remaining judicially unresolved.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013, which proclaimed November 2, as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI).

It is in recognition of the far-reaching consequences of impunity, especially of crimes against journalists.

UNESCO is concerned that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption and crime. Governments, civil society, the media and everyone concerned to uphold the rule of law are being asked to join in the global efforts to end impunity.

The resolution urged member states to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.

MEANWHILE, a group of stakeholders committed to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity has stressed the need to adopt an intersectional perspective, looking at how different aspects of identity, including gender, affect the safety and protection of journalists.

This was one of the main conclusions of consultations held in Bangkok, Thailand on October 3, organised by UNESCO and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).

The participants, comprising journalists, union representatives, researchers, civil society organisations and representatives of member states, acknowledged that while the UN Plan calls for a gender-sensitive approach in the safety of journalists, societal understanding and knowledge about the different ways that gender impacts journalists’ safety has evolved in the past 10 years.

The event was opened jointly by UNESCO and APC and included a contribution by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Irene Khan, who highlighted the threat to freedom of expression posed by gendered violence.

This meeting was the final consultation in a series of multi-stakeholder events organised by UNESCO, including five regional consultations and three thematic consultations. The results of the consultations will inform the conference “Safety of Journalists: Protecting media to protect democracy”, to be hosted by the government of Austria on November 3 to 4 in Vienna to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

This highlights the need for a renewed and amplified commitment to combat gender-based violence.

The consultation participants formulated concrete recommendations based upon a mapping exercise looking at the impact and potential responses in the three thematic areas: “Online gender-based violence against journalists”, “Violence during coverages” and “Harassment in the workplace”.
Recommendations include:

• Referring to gender-based violence in journalism instead of violence against women journalists, as a step to ensure that diversity and inter-sectionality are better taken into consideration.

• Incentivising actions aimed at strengthening capacity for implementation of measures that could promote the safety of women journalists. These could include:

• Trainings offered to women journalists on holistic security;

More transparency and communication/dissemination by tech companies in relation to the tools they have developed to improve women’s ability to protect themselves on their respective internet platforms;

Training for law enforcement and judicial actors on how to investigate and process complaints relating to online gender-based violence.

The UN and its member states should promote and support the creation of gender-responsive newsroom policies, including through the promotion of ratification of the 190 ILO Convention.