Sharief/Vienna/2 November 2023
Journalists and the media fulfill a vital role in society, upholding and enabling democracy and holding power to account. They are essential to strong and accountable institutions and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
But this important position puts journalists at risk. Their commitment to investigating and revealing the truth means they are often targeted for attack, illegal detention, and even death.
In 2022, according to UNESCO, at least 88 journalists were killed for doing their jobs – a sharp increase on the preceding years. The current conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory is taking a horrific toll on journalists.
But the majority of journalists who are killed are not war reporters; they are working in countries that are at peace, investigating corruption, trafficking, human rights violations, and environmental issues.
I am deeply alarmed by these figures, and by the rise in threats of all kinds against journalists. Detention of journalists is at an all-time high. Online harassment of journalists, particularly women, is being used as a tool to silence them.
We need better safeguards to defend the journalists who are keeping us informed.
On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we call on all States to prevent violence against journalists, to provide a safe environment for them to go about their jobs, to bring to justice those who commit crimes against journalists and media workers, and to ensure support for victims and survivors.
Today and every day, we are grateful to the journalists and all media professionals who risk their health and lives to keep us informed, and to keep the truth alive.