As delivered by Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Permanent representative of Norway.
Freedom of expression must be respected and protected. We must do more to promote this fundamental right, and ensure safety for human rights defenders, journalists and media workers.
Press freedom is under pressure, and journalism has become a dangerous profession. Norway is deeply concerned about the negative trends in terms of freedom of expression and safety of journalists. High Commissioner Zeid’s opening statement on Monday reflected this grave situation in several countries worldwide.
According to Reporters without Borders 22 journalists, 4 citizens journalists and 8 media assistants have been killed so far in 2017 globally. Several hundred are currently imprisoned.
Journalists and media workers face great risks in order to disclose corruption and abuse of power, to expose violations of human rights and provide the public with information. Local reporters covering local issues are particularly at risk.
Norway is concerned about systemic impunity for attacks and killings of journalists and media workers. Norway calls upon all parties to intensify efforts to eliminate and prosecute such crimes. Every act of violence that goes uninvestigated and unpunished is an open invitation for further violence.
We commend the OHCHR and UNESCO for their joint initiative to enhance the follow-up of the UN Action Plan for safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. The international normative framework is in place. Efficient implementation at the national level is overdue.