UNGA Adopts 11th Resolution on Safety of Journalists

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations General Assembly
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on November 19, 2019  adopted a Resolution  on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity – the 11th resolution on the safety of journalists adopted by the United Nations system since 2006

The 11 Resolutions are made up of 5 resolutions by the General Assembly, 4 by the Human Rights Council and 2 by the Security Council.

In the Resolution, UNGA unequivocally condemned all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and arbitrary detention, expulsion, intimidation, threats and online and offline harassment, including through attacks on, or the forced closure of, their offices and media outlets, in both conflict and non-conflict situations.

The world body took cognizance of the importance of freedom of expression and of free, independent, plural and diverse media and access to information, online as well as offline, in building inclusive and peaceful knowledge societies and democracies and in fostering intercultural dialogue, peace and good governance, as well as understanding and cooperation.

It reaffirmed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recalled relevant international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 19494 and the Additional Protocols.

It also recalled its previous resolutions on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, including resolution 68/163 of 18 December 2013, in which it proclaimed 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and resolutions 69/185 of 18 December 2014, 70/162 of 17 December 2015 and 72/175 of 19 December 2017.

The Resolution welcomed the latest report of the Secretary-General on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, the current situation and the actions undertaken so far in relation thereto.

Condemning unequivocally the specific attacks on women journalists and media workers in relation to their work, such as gender-based discrimination and violence, including online and offline sexual harassment, intimidation and incitement to hatred against women journalists, the Resolution called upon States to tackle these issues as part of broader efforts to promote and protect the human rights of women, eliminate gender inequality and tackle gender-based stereotypes in society.

Additionally, it called on States to develop and implement effectively legal frameworks and measures for the protection of journalists and media workers and for combating impunity, taking into consideration the gender dimensions thereof, including, where appropriate, through the creation and strengthening of special investigative units or independent commissions, the appointment of a specialized prosecutor and the adoption of specific protocols and methods of investigation and prosecution.

The Resolution also called for the immediate and unconditional release of journalists and media workers who have been arbitrarily arrested, arbitrarily detained or taken hostage or who have become victims of enforced disappearances;

To download the full text of the UNGA Resolution, A/C.3/74/L.45/rev.1, on Safety of Journalists, please click here.