UN Warns About Increased Attacks, Threats Against Journalists


The United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres warned Saturday about the increase of attacks and threats against media workers, in a statement to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists.


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"When journalists are attacked, the whole of society pays a price. Without the ability to protect journalists, our ability to keep us informed and contribute to decision-making is severely impaired," Guterres said in his statement.

A new study from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), notes that killings of journalists have risen by some 18 percent in the past five years (2014-2018), compared to the previous five-year period. 

The report, 'Intensified Attacks, New Defences', underscores the risks that journalists face, showing that almost 90 percent of those found responsible for the deaths of more than 1,100 of them, between 2006 and 2018, have not been convicted.

The deadliest countries for journalists, according to the statistics, are the Arab States, where almost a third of the killings took place. The Latin American and Caribbean region (26 percent), and Asian and Pacific States (24 percent) are the next most dangerous.

These attacks and incidents include threats of prosecution, imprisonment, detention, denial of journalistic access and impunity for crimes against them.

"Without journalists who can do their job safely, we face the possibility of a world of confusion and misinformation," the U.N. chief insisted.

Journalists are often murdered for reporting on politics, crime, and corruption, and this is reflected in the study, which reveals that, in the past two years (2017-2018), more than half of journalist fatalities were in non-conflict zones.

For this reason, the U.N General Assembly proclaimed Nov. 2 as the international day to end such impunity in a resolution adopted in December 2013. The date was chosen to commemorate the murder of two French journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, in Mali in November 2013.

This year UNESCO launched the #KeepTruthAlive social media campaign, to draw attention to the dangers faced by journalists close to their homes, highlighting that 93 percent of those killed work locally, and featuring an interactive map created for the campaign, which provides a vivid demonstration of the scale and breadth of the dangers faced by journalists worldwide.