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Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the General Assembly delivers a message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
2 Nov 2020 -  In the past twelve years more than 1,000 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public. In nine out of ten cases the killers go unpunished. Impunity leads to more killings and is often a symptom of worsening conflict and the breakdown of law and judicial systems. UNESCO is concerned that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.
This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
Journalists play an incredibly important role in our lives, sometimes at great personal risk.
They bring us invaluable information, from around the world to right here at home. They are the embodiment of free speech, a fundamental pillar of any free and democratic society.
During the pandemic, journalists have been on the frontline in the fight to get the truth out.
It is a critical time for fact-based reporting. With COVID-19, incorrect information can be deadly.
Today, as we mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we must do our utmost to prevent violence against media workers and create a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
We must support those brave individuals who put themselves in often difficult or dangerous situations to get us the information we need, to challenge us, to be the voice of the unheard and to hold those in power accountable.
It is our job to protect journalists. So they can keep doing their job.
Thank you.
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