Security Council focuses on safety of journalists

Under the chairmanship of Lithuania, the Security Council on Wednesday adopted Resolution 2222 promoting the safety of journalists, and the focus was further reinforced at a side event convened by Lithuania and Latvia.

Besides remarks by the 15 Member States of the Council, almost 50 other UN Member States indicated their interest in speaking on the subject matter – with many mentioning the importance of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The new Security Council resolution bears in mind that impunity for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflict still remains a significant challenge.

It further recognizes that “journalists, media workers and associated personnel can play an important role in protection of civilians and conflict prevention by acting as an early warning mechanism”.

Looking ahead, the Resolution stresses that peacekeeping operations and special political missions could include, where appropriate, information in their reporting about specific acts of violence against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflicts.

The Secretary General could also play a valuable role in providing information on the subject, by including the issue consistently as a sub-item in his reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including measures to protect journalists and prevent incidents.

The Council session was addressed by UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters without Borders, and journalist Marianne Pearl.

At the side-event, remarks were made by the foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania, as well OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic; Quinn McKew of Article 19; and journalist Milka Tadic Mijovic. UNESCO Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, also participated in the panel.