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Unions welcome new UN resolution on protecting journalists

29 May 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed Resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts, unanimously adopted by the United Nations (UN) Security Council during its 74509th meeting in New York.

The Resolution, the first one adopted by the UN on this subject since the adoption of Resolution 1738 in December 2006, calls on states to fulfil their obligations with regard to the protection of journalists during armed conflicts. In a new development, the resolution encourages the UN peacekeeping operations to provide regular reports on the safety of journalists.

The resolution states:

"United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions, where appropriate should include in their mandated reporting information on specific acts of violence against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situation of armed conflict"

It also urges states to take appropriate steps to ensure accountability for crimes committed against media workers in these situations and calls on all parties of an armed conflict to comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists.

Council members also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of journalists who have been kidnapped or taken as hostage and urged all warring parties to respect the professional independence and rights of journalists.

The IFJ said it welcomes the Security Council’s acknowledgement of the urgency and importance of media protection by recording in the resolution that:

"Journalists, media professionals and associated personnel can play an important role in protection of civilians and conflict prevention by acting as an early warning mechanism in identifying and reporting potential situations that could result in genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

"We are pleased that the important role of journalists, especially in war zones, is recognised and the need to provide them with protection taken seriously at the highest level of world governance.
"Unfortunately, while this is a positive step and a strong message, we remain concerned over the lack of concrete action to ensure that all governments are held to their international obligation to fight against impunity for violence against journalists within their borders."

According to the IFJ, 51 journalists have lost their lives so far this year.

Tags: , un, impunity, ifj, violence, journalists detained, journalists freed, journalists injured, journalists killed, press freedom, safety