IFJ Calls for Accountability for Attacks on Media as UN Launches Plan on Security of Journalists and Issue of Impunity

The UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalists and the

issue of impunity was officially launched at a two-day UN Inter-agency meeting

which ended today in Vienna, Austria.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) described

the meeting as a moment of truth for turning the many declarations on the issue

of journalists' safety into reality. The Federation urged the world community

to enforce its legal instruments which should constitute red lines and ensure

their breaches carry strong consequences.

"The continued grim toll of journalists' killings undermines

media community's confidence in the international instruments," said IFJ President

Jim Boumelha. "The new UN Action Plan is welcome but it is very much drinking in

the last chance saloon."

The meeting, organised by UNESCO and the Austrian Ministry

of European and International affairs, brought together UN agencies,

governments, professional organisations, civil society and NGOs to discuss the

implementation of the UN plan on journalists' protection.

In his opening remarks, the UN Under Secretary General for

Public Information, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, condemned the attacks on media

facilities during the recent fighting in Gaza. The UN Special Rapporteur on

Freedom of Expression, Frank la Rue stressed that "  safety is a matter of governments' political

will to investigate attacks on journalists and put an end to impunity."

The IFJ President Jim Boumelha along with the IFJ Africa

Director Gabriel Baglo and the Human Rights Officer Ernest Sagaga presented the

work of the Federation and its affiliates to promote journalists'

protection around the world, including safety training, campaign against

impunity and safe houses.

The Federation and

its affiliates marked the International Day against impunity by calling on

governments to implement their international obligations and prevent attacks on

journalists worldwide. The Federation and its members wrote to the UN General

Secretary Ban K-Moon, urging him to provide leadership in the fight against

rampant impunity for violence against journalists and media workers.

"We believe that the starting point should

be for the UN to take resolute action to ensure that governments abide by

international laws and standards concerning the safety and protection of

journalists," said the letter.

The IFJ also joined other civil society and NGOs in a

statement  which was issued in the

margins of the meeting, supporting the UN Action Plan on the safety of

journalists and the issue of impunity. The implementation of the UN Action Plan

will initially be rolled out in Iraq, Mexico, Nepal and Pakistan.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 134

countries