UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged all to stand up for journalists, truth and justice saying truth never dies.
“Reporting is not a crime.Together, let us stand up for journalists, for truth and for justice,” he said in a message on theInternational Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists that falls on November 2.
The UN chief called on governments and the international community to protect journalists and create the conditions they need to do their work.
“On this day, I pay tribute to journalists who do their jobs every day despite intimidation and threats. Their work – and that of their fallen colleagues — reminds us that truth never dies. Neither must our commitment to the fundamental right to freedom of expression,” he said.
In just over a decade, Guterres said, more than a thousand journalists have been killed while carrying out their indispensable work.Nine out of ten cases are unresolved, with no one held accountable, he added.
“Female journalists are often at greater risk of being targeted not only for their reporting but also because of their gender, including through the threat of sexual violence,” Guterres said.
This year alone, he said, at least 88 journalists have been killed and many thousands more have been attacked, harassed, detained or imprisoned on spurious charges, without due process.
“This is outrageous. This should not become the new normal.When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price,” said the UN chief.He said he deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity.
Meanwhile, the European Union said democracy cannot live without free, diverse and independent media. “Journalists and media actors across the globe hold states, government officials, corporations and society at large accountable for their actions.”
But far too many among them face threats and attacks simply for carrying out their work, while the perpetrators of these attacks often act with total impunity, it said in a declaration marking the day.
“Free journalism is the backbone of free societies: undermining it means undermining our own freedom,” reads the EU declaration.
The EU paid tribute to all those journalists around the world who lost their lives and suffered attacks in the exercise of their profession. “We also pay tribute to all those brave journalists who are taking up the work of their colleagues who can no longer pursue their investigations.”
The EU said it will continue to use all appropriate external policy and financial instruments to enhance the quality of journalism, access to public information and freedom of expression.