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The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.
[10 February 2013]
*This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting nongovernmental organization(s).
In paragraph 39 of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,1 the World Conference on Human Rights encouraged the increased involvement of the media, for whom freedom and protection should be guaranteed.
The World Conference also reaffirmed that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the first responsibility of Governments.
Today, in too many countries, notably those experiencing a war or troubled situation, journalists and media workers not only they do not enjoy the security and protection they should be entitled to, but they have to face a climate of suspicion, intimidation, repression and even violence created by the State authorities which is fundamentally inconsistent with the international commitments.
In Gaza, the Israeli army continues to target deliberately buildings hosting journalists and last November it has deliberately killed three Palestinian journalists under the pretext that they were from media close to Hamas.
These few examples illustrate the many ways Governments have to silence the press and to undermine the safety and protection of journalists and media workers which are conducive to the culture of impunity in relation to journalists and media workers killing; this being fundamentally contrary to the spirit of the resolution the Council adopted by consensus at the 21st session which calls “for States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference”. At the 2nd UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, held in Vienna (Austria) on 22-23 November 2012, UN agencies, Governments and NGOs finalized a concrete Implementation Strategy 2013-2014 for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity that was endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board in April 2012.
In its introductory remarks, the UN Plan of action clearly recognize that without freedom of expression, and particularly freedom of the press, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible and that the curtailment of their expression deprives society as a whole of their journalistic contribution and results in a wider impact on press freedom where a climate of intimidation and violence leads to self-censorship. Mindful that the UN Plan of action is geared to the country level and that promoting the safety of journalists and fighting impunity must not be constrained to after-the fact action but requires prevention mechanisms and actions to address some of the root causes of violence against journalists and of impunity., the Press Emblem Campaign is still convinced of the necessity to set up an international mechanism of inquiry to investigate crimes of attacks against journalists and bring the perpetrators to justice.