According to the UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, killed 62 journalists “just because of their work” in 2020.
“Many lost their lives reporting conflicts, but in recent years the number of media workers killed outside of conflict areas has increased,” said Guterres, adding that “in many countries there is investigation into corruption, human trafficking, human rights violations and environmental issues cost journalists’ lives. ” in danger. “
He complained that “the impunity for the murder of journalists is extremely high” and has revealed that UNESCO data shows that “almost nine out of ten cases go unpunished”. “Journalists face a myriad of threats, from kidnapping, torture and arbitrary detention to disinformation and harassment campaigns, especially in the digital arena,” he said, adding that “journalists are particularly at risk of violence online.”
“Crimes against journalists have a huge impact on society as a whole and prevent people from making informed decisions,” he said. “The COVID-19 pandemic and disinformation pandemic have shown that access to facts and science is literally a matter of life and death,” he argued.
In this context, the UN Secretary-General stressed that “when access to information is threatened, a threatening message is sent that undermines democracy and the rule of law” while at the same time commemorating the legacy and achievements of journalists killed in their work ” .
“I call on Member States and the international community to show solidarity with journalists around the world today and every day and to demonstrate the necessary political will to investigate and prosecute crimes against journalists and media professionals with all the strength of the law,” added riveted.
For her part, the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, stressed that for many journalists “telling the truth has its price”. “If attacks on journalists go unpunished, everyone’s legal system and framework have failed,” he argued.
“States have an obligation to protect journalists and to ensure that those responsible for crimes against them are punished. Judges and prosecutors, in particular, play an important role in promoting faster and more effective criminal proceedings, ”he noted.
UNESCO has stressed that it has trained nearly 23,000 judicial officers, including judges, prosecutors and lawyers, in recent years. “Only by allowing the truth to be told can we promote peace, justice and sustainable development in our societies,” added Azoulay.