UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, and the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Luis Ebrard Casaubon, signed a letter of intent for the promotion of freedom of expression and the development of a free, independent and pluralistic journalism on 27 February 2020 in Mexico City, Mexico. This letter of intent reaffirms Mexico’s commitment to support investigative journalism and to fostering a safe and enabling environment for journalists in the country.
During the 2019 commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, which took place in Mexico City on 7 November, the Mexican authorities had announced the creation of a mechanism to fund investigative journalism, and had mentioned that a social security programme for freelance journalists would soon be launched in order to address their working conditions. These commitments were reaffirmed with the signing of the letter of intent, which will strengthen UNESCO and Mexico’s cooperation in the area of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.
UNESCO’s Director General thanked the Mexican Government for the trust it placed in the Organization to manage this pioneering cooperation in support of investigative journalism, in particular on cases of killed journalists, in order to end impunity for crimes committed against them. Investigative journalists play a key role in democratic societies, keeping all relevant players accountable, and raising the levels of access to public information that are crucial for sustainable development. By developing investigative journalism in Mexico, this independent and transparent mechanism will not only help achieve SDG 16.10 – it will also facilitate the achievement of all other SDGs. Additionally, it can become a model on how to support journalism in other countries.
As the lead UN agency with the mandate to promote free, independent and pluralistic media landscapes, UNESCO has been spearheading the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The signing of the letter of intent with the Mexican Government greatly contributes towards the implementation of the UN Plan of Action.