The Unesco message to Ossigeno’s Conference

Sent by Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information for the conference held in Rome at Senate on October 25th

This is the transcription of the video message sent by Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, responsible for the Organization’s programmes on fostering freedom of expression and building inclusive knowledge societies. to the Ossigeno conference held in Rome at Senate on October 25th 2019

One thousand one hundred and nine journalists have been killed in the last 12 years. Most of them were silenced for reporting uncomfortable truths, for covering stories about corruption, crime and politics, in their own country, in their own city. Many of these killings happened closer to us than what we imagine. Although there is a silent slight increase in the number of resolved cases, in figures remain small.

According to this year ‘s Infocus Edition of the Unesco report on World Trends in Freedom Expression and Media Development , almost nine out of ten cases of killed journalists reported by Unesco Member States continue to be unpunished. We must work harder, to ensure that arrested are prosecuted and we need to prepare ourselves to act against evolving threats associated with technological transformations.

In addition to physical violence, of which killings are the ultimate form, journalists, and in particular women journalists continue to face harmful acts that are increasingly prevalent online. We cannot stand ideally by, the International Community, Member States , civil society, media and the public must continue the mobilization and join forces for a stronger response.

We need the support of all State controls, these include Parliamentarians, judicial actors, Internet companies, NGOs, academics, media owners and journalists themselves. Impunity for crimes against journalists affects the rule of law for all of us. It sends a terrible message to the journalists: that they should be silenced or live in fear.

It also risks limiting the information available to the public, and accountability of the people in power. We must bolster mechanisms, to prevent and protect journalists and to prosecute crimes committed against them. We must keep truth alive, and continue to raise awareness, about the fear and dangers that journalists face.

Combatting  impunity is a commitment that many countries have taken, particularly in order to achieve the sustainable development goals of the 2030 agenda. We must uphold and defend  freedom of expression, press freedom, and freedom of access to information.

With these worlds I hope you will join us in commemorating the important Day, that is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. Thank you very much.

See the video

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