Statement by the Permanent Representative of Lithuania on behalf of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists at the Side event “Dangerous Assignments: Safety of Women Journalists”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to make this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists, composed of the following States: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, United States, and Uruguay.
First of all, I would like to thank Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the journalists and briefers who have honored us with their presence here today, as well as Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the associated organisations, Article 19, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), who all work tirelessly for press freedom and the protection and safety of journalists. The Group of Friends is proud to co-organise this event to discuss specific issues relating to the protection of journalists and media workers.
This issue is now being given greater consideration within the United Nations system. The Secretary General has reaffirmed his commitment to the protection of journalists through the role given to Under-Secretary-General for Policy, Mrs Menendez, and to the network of inter-agency "focal points for the protection of journalists". Now we need to see what difference it will make on the ground.
We are convinced that journalists and media workers deserve special attention, because without journalists we will never be fully informed. It is journalists who shed light on corruption, human rights violations and abuses, and or violations of international humanitarian law in conflict situations. That is why journalists are continually being targeted.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we look at the issue of the protection and safety of women journalists and media workers later on, we want to start by sending a message of admiration and support to those who take up these dangerous assignments, and by doing so sometimes undermine their future or risk their own lives. I am thinking in particular of women who already paid with their lives, fighting for women’s rights, or investigating corruption cases, and those who were taken hostage in conflict areas,.
In 2017, the ratio of women journalists killed tripled from the previous year. Women working on dangerous assignments face double vulnerability and multiple threats: beyond the killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions that affect all journalists regardless of their gender, women also fall victim more often of sexual and gender based violence, intimidation and harassment, online and offline. Such violations and abuses risk acting as deterrents to taking up assignments as well as to exercising their freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information.
The issue of women journalists therefore has its rightful place in this 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of women. Indeed, the presence of women journalists in the media industry and, their participation in the information profession, is essential, as noted in the CSW's conclusions already in 2003 and which remain fully relevant and will be reviewed this year.
That is also why the resolution on the safety of journalists adopted at the General Assembly last December pays particular attention to the issue of women journalists and media workers. We hope that today's discussion will make it possible to measure the challenges, exchange good practices and consider best ways to ensure effective protection and to ensure the safety of all journalists and media workers as provided in the resolution, especially for women journalists.
Thank you very much.
14 March, 2018
Side event was co-sponsored by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Article19, and International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) as well as the Permanent Missions of France, Greece and Lithuania to the UN on behalf of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists