16 March 2022, 49th session of the Human Rights Council, Item 3 General Debate
Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Darius Staniulis, Permanent Representative of Lithuania in Geneva
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and my own country Lithuania.
We thank the OHCHR for the reports.
The Nordic-Baltic countries condemn all forms of violence, online and offline, against journalists and other media workers, including women journalists and media workers. It is even more deplorable that in some cases the source of such violence, harassment and repressions is the state itself.
Independent media play a critical role in informing the public, in particular in the times of crises and global health emergencies. It is therefore crucial that the right to seek, receive and impart information through a broad range of diverse and credible sources, is ensured.
We strongly condemn the attempts to silence media sources and voices that challenge systematic manipulation and disinformation efforts by government-controlled media channels, in the Russian Federation following Russia’s war against Ukraine. The situation is equally alarming in Belarus, who supports Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and continues to exacerbate the already extremely troubling situation for media freedom in their country. We reiterate our condemnation in the strongest possible terms of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine, and our full solidarity with Ukraine and its people.
It is the responsibility of every state to create a safe and enabling environment for the critical work carried out by journalists, to address the issue of impunity for attacks against them, including impunity surrounding online attacks on women journalists and media workers and to ensure accountability through impartial, prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigations.
The Nordic-Baltic countries call on all states to do their part in defending media freedom and the safety of journalists and by doing so - to promote the right to freedom of expression and information, which is vital to any democratic society.
I thank you.