Reporters Without Borders welcomes the United Nations Security Council interest in considering to take further steps to enhance the implementation of resolution 1738 and improve the protection of journalists on the ground. The Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on the protection of journalists on July 17, 2013. Reporters Without Borders worked very closely with France on the draft and adoption of resolution 1738 in 2006.
“Since resolution 1738 was unanimously adopted by the Security Council condemning intentional attacks against journalists in conflict situations, the level of violence against journalists and citizen-journalists is increasing. With 89 journalists killed in connection with their work, 2012 has been the deadliest year for journalists since Reporters Without Borders began producing an annual roundup in 1995”, explains Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders Executive Director. “Further steps to enhance the implementation of resolution 1738 are needed more than ever”.
In repressive countries or countries at war, professional and citizen journalists are often the only sources of firsthand information about human rights violations by governments, warlords, religious extremists. By covering the plight of their fellow citizens and reporting abuses by leading officials, they expose themselves to the possibility of very violent reprisals. On the basis of its experience, Reporters Without Borders recommends that certain steps should be made in order to protect journalists.
1. Establish effective monitoring for states’ respect of their obligations
2. Extend member states’ obligations to non-professional “news providers”
3. Extend member states’ obligations beyond armed conflict situations
4. Reaffirm member states’ obligations to protect foreign exiled news providers
Please find attached the note addressed to Member States.
Resolution 1738 already requires states to protect journalists and combat impunity for those responsible for physical attacks against journalists. “So the problem is not a legal void but the lack of any verification of respect by member states for their obligations, highlights Christophe Deloire, that’s why we are especially asking the UN Security Council to seek the creation of a group of independent experts tasked with monitoring respect for UN Security Council Resolution 1738 by member states and presenting its findings during UNESCO general conferences. This group would also be tasked with informing, helping and advising the UN secretary general on the drafting of the section on the safety of journalists in his next reports on the protection of civilians during armed conflicts.”
In most of the cases when journalists have been killed, the murderers stay unpunished. Reporters Without Borders urges again member states to investigate systematically all acts of violence or fatal incidents in which journalists, media workers and related personnel are the victims, both those that take place on their territory and those that take place abroad. An example of this is the investigation launched in France by the French prosecutor on the attack that killed the French photographer Remi Ochlik and seriously wounded the French journalist Edith Bouvier in Homs in February 2012. The American veteran journalist Marie Colvin died as well in this attack.
Reporters Without Borders has been dedicated to the protection of journalists, media assistants and citizen journalists in conflict situations for more than 25 years, by providing insurances, bullet proof jackets and digital safety advises.
Reporters Without Borders co-signed a letter addressed to all UN Security Council members states with FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights, Canadian Association of Journalists, Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Global Forum for Media Development, International Center for Journalists, International Media Support, International Press Institute, Internews and Rory Peck Trust.