Geneva, 16 Jun 2016 (Nefail Maliqi) -The EBU has lent its support to a Reporters Without Borders (RSF) campaign to create a Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary General dedicated to the safety of journalists, report the National Information Agency “Presheva Jonë” from Geneva.
Delegates at the EBU’s General Assembly in Montenegro heard how there had been a failure to reduce the frequency and scale of targeted violence that journalists face on a daily basis. In the last 20 years, 1000 journalists and media personnel have been killed (including 5 journalists and collaborators of the newspaper “Bota sot” in Kosovo) in the course of their work including many from EBU Member broadcasters. Last year alone, 67 journalists were killed worldwide.
As well as the tragic loss of life, by silencing their voices, millions of people have been deprived – often intentionally – of the right to hear free and fair information. An attack on journalists is an attack on people’s fundamental freedoms and rights of access to information – a key sustainable development goal for the UN.
RSF is leading a coalition of media outlets, NGOs, journalists and prominent public figures calling for a Special Representative at the UN with responsibility for enforcing international law and ensuring crimes against journalists do not go unpunished.
EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said: “Freedom of the media is a core value of the EBU but that freedom cannot be protected unless journalists are able to carry out their work without the threat of harassment and physical danger.
“We are therefore keen to add our voice to the calls for a UN Special Representative that will have the political weight, legitimacy and capacity for rapid action to help protect journalists worldwide.”
Support for the RSF campaign is the latest measure by the EBU to try and improve the safety of journalists in the field. Members are offered a variety of tools including dedicated training; unique apps such as ZeroRisk; the creation of safezones and networking opportunities between broadcaster’s safety personnel. The EBU also campaigns with UNESCO and the Council of Europe against impunity for those that attack the media and works to improve awareness of safety concerns.