Reporters and other media workers in war zones across the world are reliable witnesses, who contribute to forging peace and must be better-protected under international humanitarian law, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said.
Antonio Guterres, in a statement statement issued by his spokesperson, said he remained deeply concerned, and condemned attacks against journalists and media workers in general, calling for “concerted efforts to tackle widespread impunity for such crimes”.
In 2018-2019, UNESCO – the UN cultural agency which speaks up for journalist safety and protection – documented 67 killings of journalists in countries experiencing armed conflict, among which, 23 were directly involved in covering battlefield hostilities.
“Apart from fatal attacks, journalists covering conflicts face a range of other threats including violence leading to injuries, arbitrary detention, denial of visas and restrictions to movement in, across or out of conflict zones”, the Secretary-General’s statement said.
Even though 2020 saw a “slight decrease” in the rate of impunity for crimes against journalists overall, 87 per cent of such cases worldwide were still not resolved, UNESCO reported earlier this month.
According to the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, a report by UNESCO’s Director-General, only 13 per cent of cases globally involving crimes against journalists were reported “as resolved”, in comparison to 12 per cent in 2019, and 11 per cent in 2018.
The biennial report also said in 2018-19, a total of 156 killings of journalists were recorded worldwide, and over the past decade, a journalist was killed ? on average ? every four days. As of the end of September, 39 journalists had been killed in 2020, the report added.—AFP