The Doha Centre for Media Freedom will be joining UN agencies and regional and international media institutions to further discuss means of implementing the recommendations presented in the recently passed resolution at the 2nd ‘UN’s Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.’
The 2nd UN Inter-Agency meeting will bring together UNESCO, OHCHR, UNODC and UNDP to create a plan of action for journalists working in both conflict and non-conflict zones, "as well as to further reinforce prevention, monitoring and awareness-raising campaigns," wrote Janis Karklins, assistant director-general for communication and information at UNESCO, in a letter sent to DCMF's Director Jan Keulen, who will be attending the meeting in Austria from 22-23 November.
Keulen applauded UN Human Rights Council’s move to establish journalist safety as a fundamental element of freedom of expression."This is an important step as safety of journalists is now being recognised as a human rights issue and countries can be held accountable for that.”
“We have to create strategies to implement this idea of providing a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers,” he added.
On September 27, the United Nation Human Rights Council passed a resolution acknowledging the importance of providing a safe working environment for journalists and fighting impunity by ensuring impartial and speedy trials.
The Council condemned “in the strongest term all attacks and violence against journalists, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation and harassment.”
The resolution also calls upon the states to fight impunity and “ ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy and effective investigations into such acts falling within their jurisdiction, and to bring to justice those responsible, as well as to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”
Out of 47-member states, Austria played a major role in promoting this resolution to the council. In an interview with the International Press Institute, Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said: “There is currently a protection gap. Austria is working together with civil society on specific measures to improve the protection of journalists. The focus of [this] initiative ... will be the struggle against impunity and the prevention of future attacks.”
Since the launch of DCMF, the centre has been involved in providing assistance to journalists in danger. DCMF Emergency Assistance team received 130 urgent requests from 39 countries in the last 12 months, out of which 48 percent have been granted.
This year has been deadly for journalists as around 69 reporters and citizen journalists have been killed in Syria so far, according to Doha Centre for Media Freedom figures. After Syria, Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries to work in, with 15 journalists being killed in the African nation.