November 12th 2014 - IREX Europe, IREX and 21 other international media development and press freedom groups have reaffirmed their support for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, a worldwide journalist safety framework.
In their statement (available below) following the 3rd UN-Inter-Agency meeting on the safety of journalists held on 4 November in Strasbourg, the groups expressed their support for the Plan which was adopted by the UN Chief Executives Board in 2012. While welcoming the Plan’s emphasis on preventive and protective safety measures, civil society delegates also encouraged for more cohesive actions at country level and called for national safety mechanisms to be further strengthened to ensure a “broad-based, comprehensive and inclusive approach, based on local ownership.”
The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity is a worldwide framework which aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers. The UN Plan of Action was spearheaded by UNESCO and marks the first effort to systematically bring the UN family of agencies together with other relevant stakeholders to address the worsening situation of the safety of journalists, media workers, and social media producers, and of the culture of impunity surrounding the crimes against them.
We, the undersigned participants of the meeting of the civil society delegates of the 3rd UN Inter-Agency meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, that took place on the 4th November, 2014:
• Reaffirm our support for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity while recommending a stronger strategic focus on engaging all stakeholders at domestic levels to implement the plan, given the time passed since its launch;
• In particular, welcome emphasis on the preventive and protective safety measures outlined in the Plan of Action but encourage more consistent and less disconnected actions at country level to guarantee such precautionary measures;
• Believe that national mechanisms need to be further developed and strengthened to ensure a broad-based, comprehensive and inclusive approach, based on local ownership;
• Recognize the need for political will and action by UN member states and other authorities to implement the Plan;
• Appreciate the efforts to map and continue to identify good practices with the expectation that they can be shared among civil society and media and replicated where appropriate to inspire implementation of the Plan of Action. But we recommend more robust use and application of these practices at country level;
• Agree to support implementation of the Plan of Action in mutual cooperation and partnership among international, regional and national stakeholders, while also monitoring and assessing the Plan’s impact.
• We recognize that more needs to be done among international NGOs to ensure more efficient coordination at country level in order to support and facilitate the achievement of the targets set in the action plan;
• Underscore the need to comply with the decisions of regional mechanisms to address impunity and ensure effective implementation of such structures where they exist;
• While recalling obligations of the UN and its member states to prevent attacks and combat impunity globally, we recommend implementation of the Plan of Action in a comprehensive manner,
• Note that increased awareness the UN Action Plan among UN institutions as well as member states and the media themselves is crucial to its successful implementation, and undertake to increase our own efforts to enhance awareness of the Plan among journalists,
• Encourage regular and timely reviews of the progress of the UN Action Plan by all stakeholders.
Association of European Journalists
Centre for Freedom of the Media
Centre for Law and Democracy
Committee to Protect Journalists
Doha Centre for Media Freedom
European Federation of Journalists
Free Press Unlimited
International Federation of Journalists
International Media Support
International News Safety Institute
International Press Institute
International Women’s Media Foundation
Irish Centre for Human Rights
Media Legal Defence Initiative
Program on Independent Journalism, Open Society Foundations
Reporters Without Borders
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)
World Press Freedom Committee
Presentation of civil society’s statement at the 3rd UN-Inter Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, November 4th 2014, Strasbourg, France.