A day without news may seem unthinkable in this connected and globalized world. Yet every day, the voices of the news are being silenced.
The numbers are staggering.
Every week, a journalist is killed simply for doing his or her job. Nine out of ten cases go unpunished.
In the last ten years, more than 600 journalists have been murdered. Many more suffer from intimidation, harassment and death threats. Cases of sexual violence are increasing.
Many find themselves thrown into jail for exercising their rights and trying to uncover wrong-doing.
As the UN agency mandated to promote and protect freedom of expression and press freedom, UNESCO, under the leadership of Director-General Irina Bokova, condemned a record 121 killings of journalists, media workers and citizen reporters last year.
Forty-one of these deaths took place in Syria.
Every journalist killed is a vital voice lost.
Every murder represents a day without news, a day when society as a whole is weakened.
This is why the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity is so important. Our goal is simple: to ensure that every journalist can do her or his job safely.
Each year on World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd, we speak out for the safety of journalists, and for combating impunity, in the real and digital worlds.
I welcome this opportunity to raise the flag in support of “A Day without News”.
Every day is a day when we must stand up for press freedom.