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Prevention, protection and prosecution

The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a new resolution, based on previous resolutions on the same issue but with new elements, on the safety of journalists, urging UN member states to do their utmost to prevent violence, intimidation, threats and attacks against journalists and media workers.

The resolution invites “states, the director-general of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and all other relevant stakeholders to take the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity to strengthen the implementation of the plan of action over the next decade by, among others, strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships and coalition building, and by fostering a coherent and comprehensive policy approach that encompasses the three pillars of prevention, protection and prosecution.”

“The adoption by the (UNHRC) is an important milestone in the process of creating a safer environment for journalists faced with many different threats. It is also of special interest to see the council acknowledging the Windhoek+30 Declaration,” UNESCO Assistant Director General for communication and information Tawfik Jelassi said.

With a special emphasis on the prevention, protection and prosecution, the resolution reinforces the framework of protection and dedicates a new paragraph on the crucial role of the judiciary, prosecution services and law enforcement officers in ensuring journalist’s safety, access to justice and effective remedies.

The resolution that was submitted by Austria together with Brazil, France, Greece, Morocco, Qatar and Tunisa and gained strong support from other member states, is a timely one as journalists and media workers in many countries, including the Philippines, have been in dire need of reassurance that the state has those three P’s in mind when it comes to members of the fourth estate.

The recent, brazen killing of broadcaster Percival Mabasa has shown the failure of prevention and protection, but now that a suspect in the murder has surrendered, Filipinos hope to see a successful prosecution that will not end with justice being meted out to the triggerman, because the mastermind has to be included as well.*

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