Side Event HRC50 - Photo:MFA Norway
MFA Norway

HRC50 side event: Media freedom and the safety of journalists in the digital age

Norway organized a well-attended side event during the 50th session of the Human Rights Council together with Special Rapporteur Irene Khan. The focus was on Khan’s reports on reinforcing media freedom and the safety of journalists in the digital age, as well as the report from her country visit to Hungary.

-Every day journalists and media workers around the world are threatened and harassed for doing their job, said Norwegian Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith during her opening remarks. -Too often journalists are also killed, not only in line of fire, when reporting from war or violent protests, but more often so because they are targeted by perpetrators who want to silence them for good. Online abuse and digital violence, particularly affecting women journalists, is on the rise.

The event was moderated by Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director for Strategies and Policies in the field of Communication and Information, and was cosponsored by Canada, Namibia, the Netherlands and Sweden. In addition to UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan, panelists included Veronika Munk from Telex, Katerina Abramova from Meduza, Pamela Morinière from the International Federation of Journalists, and Mexican freelance reporter Marcela Turati.

Mørch Smith emphasized that attacks on journalists represent a major threat to everyone’s right to freedom of expression and access to reliable information. She highlighted that the wave of autocratization is deepening worldwide and that building resilience against authoritarian forces is key.

-This includes digital and media literacy among the public, she said. -And renewed efforts to protect and develop independent and diverse media. The spread of disinformation, undermines trust in democratic institutions and increases polarization in society. Independent fact-based journalism is our best defence against disinformation.

See the recording from the event here: webinar 27062022 (