Austria to Host High-Level Conference on Safety of Journalists

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Audrey Azoulay
Director-General of UNESCO

To mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Austrian Government will host a High-Level Conference in Vienna in November with the theme: “Safety of Journalists: Protecting media to protect democracy”.

The conference which will convene at Palais Niederösterreich in Vienna on November 4, 2022, in a hybrid format is being organised in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It will have foreign ministers, key stakeholders from international organisations, civil society and academia participating in the conference.

The conference is aimed at enhancing the implementation of the UN Plan of Action, preventing attacks, protect journalists at risk and hold accountable those responsible for attacks on journalists. It also aims to increase the political commitment and resources towards improving the safety of journalists and express this commitment in concrete pledges.

Preparatory to the conference, UNESCO is organising regional and thematic consultations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and the Arab Region and building upon the findings of these consultations, selected representatives of the stakeholders will meet to develop concrete recommendations for improving the implementation of the UN Plan of Action. at the Pre-Conference on November 3, 2022, and present these recommendations to the high-level participants on November 4.

Although in-person participation will be limited and open for government delegations, international organisations, members of civil society organisations and the media, there will be an opportunity to follow the high-level conference via webcast. For more detailed background on the context and the objectives of the conference, please go to the concept note and the draft programme.

These recommendations target five issue areas in working group sessions namely:

  1. Tackling Impunity,
  2. Safety of Female Journalists/Gender-Specific Attacks,
  3. National Protection Mechanisms,
  4. Monitoring of Attacks and
  5. Technology and Accountability.

More information on the working group sessions will follow shortly. Persons who have enquiries should please direct any general queries on the conference to soj2022(at)bmeia.gv.at.