UN SG Affirms Commitment To Journalist Safety

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has pledged his commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of journalists as well as a free and independent press.

A statement from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) says Guterres is of the opinion that these issues are fundamental to democracy and human rights and has pledged to take action.

The UN Secretary General, according to the release, made the commitment over the weekend in a meeting with the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Christophe Deloire and the Executive Director of  the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Joel Simon.

The statement said the meeting was aimed at discussing the “Protect Journalists” campaign to appoint a UN Special Representative for the safety of journalists.

The statement noted that the commitment from the UN Secretary General was welcomed by Deloire, who emphasized that “We are counting on him to make the UN more efficient so that journalists can be better protected.”

Simons, also in appreciation, welcomed Guterres’ commitment, noting that “As journalists around the world are increasingly under attack physically and verbally it is encouraging and gratifying to have this kind of support from the Secretary General.”

The Protect Journalist Campaign is aimed at establishing a concrete mechanism that enforces international laws intended to reduce the number of journalists killed every year in the course of their work.

“Statistics show that despite various UN resolutions related to the safety of journalists and combating impunity, there have been few concrete results on the ground,” the statement said.

It states that the past five years have been the deadliest on record for journalists, with hundreds of journalists killed and many more attacked simply for doing their job.

The statement also disclosed that RSF reported that 78 journalists were killed in the year 2016 alone and impunity remains the norm, with full justice in only three percent of journalist murders in the past decade.

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About Cholo Brooks 16156 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.