I would like to thank the briefers for sharing their expertise and valuable inputs. And of course Ireland for facilitating this important discussion.
A journalist is killed every four days in the world- just for doing their job. And according to UNESCO in nine out of ten cases, the killers go unpunished. This is abhorrent.
Every attack on media workers is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
Protecting the lives of journalists, photographers and support staff means protecting our right to information. Not least in situations of armed conflict, where public access to factual and reliable information is critical.
Independent journalism is essential to counter the spread of disinformation and propaganda, which only reinforces insecurity, mistrust, and hostility – preventing a basis for dialogue and peace.
The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine has demonstrated the essential role of the press in providing information and reporting on human rights violations and abuses. Yet, the Committee to Protect Journalists has confirmed that at least seven journalists have died while covering the war in Ukraine.
In many countries, journalists are under increasing attack.
In Afghanistan, we have seen widespread harassment and violence against female journalists in particular. It is important that the UN Mission in Afghanistan also monitors and reports on violations, abuses and reprisals committed against journalists, in accordance with its new mandate. This also underscores the need for accountability for gender-specific safety risks such as sexual harassment and violence as a means of intimidation and reprisals.
Norway is also concerned about Myanmar - one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists. After the coup, in order to hide its massacres of civilians and tighten its grip on the country, the military junta arrested, jailed, and tortured media workers. At least three journalists have been killed, two of them died while in custody.
Journalists and media workers are civilians. Directing attacks against them is prohibited under international humanitarian law, and may amount to war crimes. And we recall the Security Council’s authority to refer cases to the International Criminal Court.
In relation to the tragic and completely unjustified killing of prominent Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Security Council sent an important signal when the Council came together on a joint statement on the need for accountability.
We have the solutions, the Security Council has adopted important resolutions on the protection of journalists, including provisions about the conduct of investigations - but we must do more to implement them.
In this, national mechanisms for the prevention, protection, and prosecution of attacks against journalists are important. They must include safety training for journalists, and capacity-building among media owners, security forces and the judiciary.
Accountability for violations and abuses committed against journalists is vital to prevent future attacks.
There are lessons to be learned from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and other situations.
If we are to provide timely and efficient emergency support to journalists and media workers in conflict situations, we need better cooperation and coordination between the UN, including with UNESCO, regional organisations, member states, civil society and media institutions.
Norway is committed to continue supporting these efforts.