On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, let us reaffirm the importance of safeguarding journalists around the world; for none of us can be truly free without a free press.
Yet, over the past twelve years more than 1,000 journalists have been senselessly killed. We remember these courageous souls for their commitment to shining a light on issues of great importance to the public, oftentimes in dangerous contexts.
I strongly condemn all crimes against journalists, and trust that Member States will hold the perpetrators to account in accordance with due process.
Today we recognize the courageous journalists who have been attacked, harassed, or wrongly imprisoned. It is particularly concerning that attacks against women journalists are on the rise.
I call on all Member States to promote a safe environment for journalists to carry out their work independently and without interference, in order to uphold Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states,
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”
The international community has benefitted immeasurably from the efforts of journalists. Informed and engaged individuals contribute to strengthen societies and contribute to economic growth; this is of particular importance in the context of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
I call upon Member States to end impunity for crimes against journalists. To the journalists who have risked their lives to unveil stories which have been left in the shadows, I stand with you in your pursuit of a better world.