The office of Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has decided to establish a privileged channel of communication with various organisations concerned with the issue of the safety of journalists.
The decision, made in a period of time in which risks and threats to journalists are increasing, was announced following a February meeting with Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers about the issue of journalist safety.
Emergency information collection
The coalition of organizations is engaged in discussions with various representatives of the Secretary-General in order to ensure that this new channel of communication provides effective mobilization from the United Nations higher echelons in emergency situations. The consultations also seek to improve coordination between the various United Nations bodies, programs and agencies, as recommended in the United Nations Plan of Action.
‘Reporters Without Borders and other member organizations of the Protect Journalists Coalition will work together to develop a concrete procedure for emergency information collection and transfer to the United Nations Secretariat,’ Christophe Delaware (RSF) said.
Reporters Without Borders will soon hold consultations with both international and local press advocacy organizations to agree on the best approach to inform the Secretary-General as early as possible in emergency situations
Earlier this year, this international alliance of journalist organizations also launched the awareness campaign #ProtectJournalists, to urge the United Nations to appoint a special representative to the Secretary-General to address the issue of journalist safety.
In 2016, 78 journalists were killed worldwide, according to data collected by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Since 2012, the total number of reporters and media assistants that have been killed is 580. In most cases these crimes go unpunished.
Image: Eric Bridiers (CC BY-ND 2.0)