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I am speaking on behalf of Andorra, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, San Marino, Switzerland and Norway.
Today, 2 November, is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. This day is the fourth of its kind, having been instituted by the UN General Assembly resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, adopted in 2013.
Last September, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the Safety of Journalists that set out the most comprehensive agenda yet for states to end impunity for attacks on journalists and media workers, and reiterated the commitments of the Human Rights Council’s 2014 resolution.
However, data from UNESCO suggests that the situation for journalists is not improving. When we delivered a statement on this day in 2015, we lamented the death of more than 700 journalists in the preceding decade. According to the most recent figures for 2006 through 2016, 930 journalists were killed. So far this year, UNESCO has condemned the killing of 64 journalists and media workers. Only ten percent of cases end in convictions.
Freedom of opinion and expression, and of the media, including the safety of journalists, is at the heart of the OSCE’s comprehensive security concept.
We thus call on participating States, working as appropriate with the Representative on Freedom of the Media, to take steps to promote a safe and enabling environment for
journalists and media workers to perform their work independently, without undue interference, and free from fear of violence and persecution.
We must abide by our international obligations to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy, thorough, independent and effective investigations into all alleged violence and to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. We must further ensure that the victims and their families have access to appropriate remedies.
To that extent, we welcome the Austrian chairmanship’s proposal for a Ministerial Council decision on free and pluralistic media and its elements addressing impunity and the safety of journalists.