The Director General of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, has urged governments worldwide to take steps to ensure that probes are conducted into crimes against journalists.
Bokova also wants people to stand up and demand that the rule of law is fully applied when journalists are attacked and killed in the line of duty.
The UNESCO official’s statement was contained in her official message issued on Monday during the commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
“In the past six years, I have publicly and unequivocally condemned more than 540 cases of killings of journalists, media workers and social media producers who generate significant amounts of journalism,” Bokova noted.
Bokova stressed that every time the perpetrator of a crime is allowed to escape punishment it emboldens other criminals and creates a vicious cycle of violence, noting that as Director-General of UNESCO and with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and the press, she stands up to publicly condemn each killing of a journalist.
According to Bokova, there is growing international recognition of the importance of improving the safety of journalists and of ending impunity as the United Nations General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, as well as the U. N. Security Council, among others, have all adopted landmark resolutions, specifically addressing these obstacles.
“At this time of great change, when all societies are transforming, we must redouble efforts to end impunity for attacks on journalists, in order to advance the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” she noted.