A free press is vital to a functioning democracy, exposing wrongdoing, navigating our complex world and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said. In his message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Guterres said, yet, more than 70 journalists have been killed this year simply for fulfilling this role in society. Most of these crimes go unsolved.
Meanwhile, a record number of journalists are incarcerated today, while threats of imprisonment, violence and death keep growing, he said. A surge in disinformation, online bullying and hate speech, particularly against women journalists, is contributing to the stifling of media workers around the world. Intimidation through the abuse of legal, financial and other means is undermining efforts to hold the powerful accountable. These trends threaten not only journalists, but society as a whole.
The United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists aims to create a safe and free environment for all media workers so that free press can function. “As we mark its tenth anniversary, I call on Governments and the international community to take the necessary steps to protect our journalists. We must end a common culture of impunity and enable journalists to do their essential work, Guterres said.
“On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, let us honour our media workers, and stand up for truth, justice and human rights for all.”