UN: Journalists Need Protection

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Speaking at the UN Security Council's first special session on the protection of journalists, AP Executive Editor and CPJ Vice Chair Kathleen Carroll began by remembering the AP journalists who were killed in the line of duty. But most journalists killed around the world are murdered. "In the overwhelming number of cases, 90 percent, the killers go unpunished," she said, citing CPJ research.

Mustafa Haji Abdinur, a Somali journalist working for Agence France-Presse, also spoke at the discussion. Mustafa, who received CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2009, said that reporting on local issues in Somalia has earned him the title of "dead man walking."

Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, permanent representative of the UK mission to the UN, criticized failures to prosecute the killers of journalists and insisted that the culture of impunity had to end. "In countries where justice for these crimes is left unaddressed, there is clear evidence that systematic violence against the press recurs year after year," he said. Grant also cited CPJ's Security Guide in his comments.

In a blog published on the CPJ website, CPJ Executive Editor Joel Simon called on the Security Council, U.N. leaders, and member states to fully implement the U.N. Plan of Action to combat impunity, strengthen international legal protections for the media, and reduce violence and censorship against journalists.

CPJ has worked for several years to sensitive U.N. leadership to press freedom issues. We have met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon twice to raise concerns about impunity, In 2012, after extensive consultation, the U.N. launched an inter-agency plan to combat impunity and improve the safety of journalists, with an initial focus on Iraq, Pakistan, and Nepal.