Secretary-General Guterres defends press freedom
At the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Association of UN Correspondents (ACANU), Secretary-General Guterres, said, “We’ve come a long way towards realizing freedom of expression, and other fundamental freedoms. The right to access to information is entrenched in law in over a hundred countries. But despite these advances, in recent years, civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.”
The UN agency advocating for freedom of the press, UNESCO, reported that at least 99 journalists were killed and thousands more were attacked, harassed, detained or imprisoned on spurious charges, without due process. Women journalists are often at greater risk of being targeted, including through online threats of sexual violence.
Calling it “outrageous” he added, “journalism and the media are essential to peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights for all – and to the work of the United Nations. In the two years since I became Secretary-General, the media has brought to light dramatic human suffering in conflict zones, major cases of corruption and nepotism, ethnic cleansing, premeditated sexual and gender-based violence and more, from every corner of the globe,” said Guterres. “In some cases, these reports were the basis for further investigations by independent observers and human rights reporters”.
The UN chief called on Governments and the international community to “protect journalists and media workers, and to create the conditions they need to do their essential work, and to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of attacks on them”.