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