In Malta, RSF urges EU to back campaign for journalists’ safety

In an address to thousands of people who gathered yesterday in Malta to demand justice for slain Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged the European Union to press for the creation of a special UN representative for the safety of journalists.

RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire’s appeal for a commitment to journalists’ safety by EU institutions and member states came just two days ahead of a European Parliament debate in Strasbourg on press freedom and the protection of media personnel.

Tomorrow’s European Parliament debate will begin with a minute’s silence for Caruana Galizia, a journalist who specialized in investigating corruption and organized crime. She was killed by a car bomb in Malta on 16 October.

“As the shockwaves from Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder continue to be felt throughout Europe and beyond, we call on EU member states and institutions to make a concrete contribution to improving enforcement of international law on the protection of journalists by requesting the creation of the position of special representative of the UN secretary-general for the safety of journalists,” Deloire told yesterday’s rally in Malta.

“We need an international commitment to reducing violence against journalists and to combatting the outrageous impunity for these crimes that still prevails today,” Deloire added.

French President Emmanuel Macron backed the #ProtectJournalists campaign call when he addressed the UN General Assembly on 19 September. The call has also been formally endorsed by dozens of other governments around the world, from Afghanistan to Spain, and from Sweden to Uruguay.

Just a few days ago, the Sri Lankan government announced that it was joining the #ProtectJournalists campaign, which RSF launched in 2015 and which is supported by more than 130 media outlets, NGOs and labour unions.

After RSF, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) met with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in February, he decided to set up a special channel of communication with these media freedom organizations.

The channel is intended to enable direct and permanent communication between them and the UN in cases of emergencies involving the safety of journalists. In August, Guterres named his political adviser, Ana-Maria Menendez, as the “focal point” for urgent cases.

More information is available here on the #ProtectJournalists campaign, including the list of more than 130 media outlets and NGOs that support the initiative.

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Updated on 24.10.2017