NEWS published on 20 Mar 2019

EBU joins calls for a UN Convention to protect journalists

The EBU has joined calls for the United Nations to tackle impunity for crimes against journalists by adopting a new Convention on their safety and protection.

Last year, on average, two journalists were killed every single week – yet impunity for crimes against journalists remains at 90%. Now a coalition led by the International Federation of Journalists and involving media industry groups and press freedom campaigners, has taken the demand for action to the heart of the UN.

At a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva,  representatives from governments across the world joined calls for a dedicated international instrument to enhance the protection of journalists.

The Convention on the Protection and Independence of Journalists and Other Media Professionals seeks to provide greater safeguards for media workers by:

  • Rectifying a gap in international law for binding norms establishing safeguards specifically for media workers.
  • Including not only journalists, but all media professionals who are at risk every day, from camera people to drivers, interpreters etc.
  • Allowing denunciations of systematic violations by persons other than the direct victims, effectively combating self-censorship.
  • Providing for interim measures and an expedite procedure in case of alleged violations.

The Convention includes incontrovertible obligations such as protecting journalists against attacks on their life, arbitrary arrest or forced disappearances. But also includes further obligations such as protecting the confidentiality of journalistic sources; not misusing national security to hinder the work of journalists through arbitrary detention;  and conducting an effective investigation where crimes against journalists have been committed, capable of bringing to justice not only the executors, but also the moral authors of the crimes.

EBU Director of Member Relations and Communications, Vanessa O’Connor, who spoke at the event said: “There are many important initiatives being taken across our membership to protect journalists and media professionals in the field. But we believe that having a binding international instrument to tackle impunity would be a significant step forward if we want redress for these terrible crimes.

“Providing free, independent access to news and information is integral to society and to democracy.”


Contact detail

Giacomo Mazzone
Head of Institutional Relations and Member Relations South

+41 22 717 20 13