RSF urges UN secretary-general, General Assembly president to back New Deal for Journalism
Three days before two journalists are to receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) met yesterday with the UN secretary-general and General Assembly president to seek their support for a “New Deal for Journalism” and the appointment of a Special Representative for the Protection of Journalists.
In an important week for journalism, with the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitri Muratov, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire – who also chairs the Forum on Information and Democracy – discussed journalism’s future at meetings at UN headquarters in New York with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and under-secretary-general Melissa Fleming, and with UN General Assembly president Abdulla Shahid.
The RSF delegation – which included RSF international campaigns director Rebecca Vincent and Forum on Information and Democracy operations manager Camille Grenier – used the meetings to stress the need for resources to ensure quality journalism’s survival and, in particular, to seek UN support for a New Deal for Journalism, a massive investment by all stakeholders in journalism based on a demanding vision of what it should be.
“The New Deal for Journalism should be at the heart of the international agenda as we enter a decisive decade for journalism’s future,” Deloire said. “It would be entirely relevant to the achievement of the goals of the Common Agenda proposed by Antonio Guterres and, more broadly, the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We urge the UN secretary-general and General Assembly president to support this process.”
Created in 2019 by RSF and ten civil society organisations, the Forum on Information and Democracy proposed the New Deal for Journalism in a report published in June. It was written by a working group whose steering committee was chaired by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the head of the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and consisted of 17 international experts.
The report recommends channelling up to 0.1% of GDP (from both state and private sector sources) into funding journalism, dedicating 1% of state development aid to support for independent news media, and implementing initiatives, such as the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI), that make it easier to identify real journalism online and restore its comparative advantage.
Call for the appointment of a Special Representative for the Protection of Journalists
RSF’s secretary-general also urged his UN interlocutors to move ahead without delay on the appointment of a Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Protection of Journalists. The creation of such a position would make a huge difference to the implementation of UN resolutions on journalists’ safety.