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Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations arrow Newsarrow World Press Freedom – Statement by Ambassador M. Spinellis

World Press Freedom – Statement by Ambassador M. Spinellis

Monday, 05 May 2014

World Press Freedom – Statement by Ambassador M. Spinellis

Tomorrow, on May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day will be celebrated across the world. Well, not exactly. There are too many black spots over the globe, where it is still highly unsafe to be a journalist; whether it is reporting on criminal activities or on autocratic regimes, media personnel are still putting their lives at risk when carrying out their work.

In December 2006, the Security Council adopted landmark resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts. Since then, scores of journalists have been threatened, imprisoned, tortured and killed, while they were simply trying to do their job. This reality makes their profession one of the most dangerous in the world.

Last November, the General Assembly adopted its first ever resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. Later this year, the first report of the Secretary General on the topic will be published. So, what do we have to do for Resolution 68/163 to be fully implemented?

The decline in freedom of expression in countries around the world either because of conflict situations or because of repressive regimes is worrisome. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 14 journalists have already lost their lives in 2014, while working in dangerous situations. For this reason, this event is very timely, given that it is a great opportunity to discuss new ways to improve the protection of journalists and fight impunity.

Despite the existence of the above mentioned legal framework, attacks against journalists continue to rise. These attacks are also creating an intimidating environment that restrains the free flow of ideas and information. Bringing the perpetrators of these attacks to justice and combating impunity will undoubtedly decrease the deaths of journalists and convey the message that their freedom needs to be respected. 

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. As the celebration of this day commands, press freedom needs to be protected and we are all responsible for that. As Albert Camus once said, a free press can, of course, be good or bad, but most certainly, without freedom the press will be bad.

Without further delay, I will pass the floor to Warren Hoge, whose unparalleled experience in reporting from all over the world makes him the most appropriate moderator for today’s debate with our distinguished panelists.

Thank you.

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