Rights group pushes for UN convention to protect journalists

Published October 23, 2018
In Pakistan, journalists operate in an environment that is far from safe or enabling. —Reporters without Borders
In Pakistan, journalists operate in an environment that is far from safe or enabling. —Reporters without Borders

A journalists' rights group on Monday launched a campaign at the United Nations seeking a convention to protect media workers' rights worldwide.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the goal of the campaign was ending impunity in violations of these rights, amid international anger over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

An initial meeting at UN headquarters brought together fifteen countries, including Greece, Russia, Pakistan, Peru, Italy and Tunisia, IFJ head Anthony Bellanger said.

His Brussels-based organisation represents 600,000 journalists in 134 countries.

Also read: Pakistan rated among most dangerous countries for journalists

The effort comes at a dramatic moment with the case of Khashoggi, who was murdered October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The case has underscored the difficulties many journalists face, with threats of harassment, assault or even death.

Organisers of the campaign hold that it is not possible to wait for the next murder without doing anything: worldwide 82 journalists were confirmed killed last year, with only one in ten deaths investigated.

“The best tribute we can pay to the victims is to unrelentingly mobilise and work tirelessly to lift the shadow of impunity which has been over journalism for far too long,” Bellanger said.

The campaign aims to mobilise several countries to take the effort to the United Nations General Assembly, the only authority that can start the process leading to the adoption of an international convention.

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