UNESCO, the Permanent Mission of Greece, and the New York Group of Friends on the Safety of Journalists held a panel discussion to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. This discussion was about the increasing violence against journalists, focusing on female journalists.
Ms.Theofili discussed how an increase in gender based violence and discrimination makes women leave the field of journalism because of fear. This deprives them of their freedom of speech and deprives society of their views and voice. Ms. Menendez communicated how vital freedom of expression and press is because without informed citizens, corruption will thrive. She said that between 2006-2016, 900 journalists were killed, and 90% of these cases remain unresolved, relating back to impunity.
Mr.La Rue focused on three main points of the UN Plan of Action of Safety of Journalists: prevention, protection in moments of immediate violence, and prosecution including conducting full investigations in all cases. Also, he talked about how SDG 16 is focused on freedom of speech, but full access to information is essential to all goals. Mrs. Basu showed a clip from her documentary and mentioned that journalists are the bridge between society and democracies.
Ms. Wickrematunge shared her personal story of being followed and how her husband was killed because of his reporting. After his death, she had a target on her back; even within the news world there was a systematic need to suppress her. She said the panel did a good job of humanizing journalism, dispelling the idea that journalists are asking for it because they put their lives on the line with their choice of career. Ms. Ferrier emphasized how social media saturates the consequences for speaking truth because online perpetrators act boldly without fear of repercussions.
Meeting: Panel Discussion on —“Ending impunity for crimes against journalists: strengthening implementation and the case of women journalists”
Date/Location: Thursday, November 2, 2017; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 8, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers: Ms. Penelope Manis, Senior Director of Programming, CNN International; Ms. Maria Theofili, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN; Ms.Ana Maria Menendez, Under-Secretary-General for Policy, Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General; Mr.Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO; Ms. Nupur Basu, Independent journalist and documentary filmmaker from India; Ms. Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge, award winning investigative journalist and editor from Sri Lanka; Ms. Judy Taing, Senior Officer on Gender and Sexuality, ARTICLE 19; Ms. Michelle Ferrier, Associate Professor in E.W Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University; Mr. Christophe Deloire, Director-General of Reporters Without Borders; Ms. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Written By: WIT Representative Nicole Matsanov