Regional commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists for Maghreb

In the frame of the commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, which took place on 4 November 2014 at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, UNESCO, in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Embassy of France, the Council of Europe and Reporters Without Borders, and with the participation of civil organizations advocating for freedom of expression, organized a regional conference for Maghreb on 3 and 4 November 2014 to raise awareness on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity surrounding crimes against journalists.

The conference aimed at promoting a dialogue between representatives of media and civil society to enhance journalist’s safety. This is an essential element for democracy, peace and development worldwide.

118 participants attended the event, among them representatives of media and civil society, journalists, human right activists, students, experts and lawyers from Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

“Journalists are exposed to many risks: economic fragility, physical danger, stress pressures, persecution and, as our colleagues in Libya, death. This first commemoration is the possibility to honor these deaths but also to discuss on how we, journalists, civil society and decision makers, could better cooperate to end impunity for crimes against journalists and to foster safety of journalist in our region” says a journalist.

After the two-day meeting, the audience elaborated some recommendation on how to foster the cooperation between civil society and media in order to stop impunity and violence against journalists.  Moreover, 75 journalists and activists from the region were trained during three different workshops in online security, conflict sensitive reporting and journalists’ rights.

UNESCO will continue to mobilize attention on the UN plan of action on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity and call upon relative stakeholders to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.