By May 16, 2018 Read More →

Keeping Power in Check: The Protection of Journalists and Media Workers

World Press Freedom Day Observance, UNHQ Thursday, May 3, 2018

A packed room of over 600 interested persons gathered to listen to and share their concerns about the challenges that journalists and media workers face while on the job. The purpose of the event was also to explore ways to protect these professionals and hold governments accountable.

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H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, President of the General Assembly, opened the session and shared on how well journalists play their role by telling us the truth “even when the powerful tries to silence them.” He emphasized on the importance of safety and protection of these personnel, especially those of the female gender. Violence of journalists is totally unacceptable, even by member states.

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Two panels of experienced personnel gave their input and shared stories of incidents where they faced attacks and other various forms of violence while on the fields.

Coincidentally, only a few days prior to this celebration, at least ten journalists were targeted and killed in Afghanistan, including Shah Marai, a leading Afghan photographer who dedicated his life to documenting a country fraught with war.

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One of the specialties of the media is to uncover that which those in power try to cover up. One such example is the Myanmar massacre. It couldn’t be emphasized more that if there is no freedom of the press, there is no one to hold governments and the business sector accountable.

It was stressed that public has a right to information, and the press has a right to freedom. For this, the protection of journalists is everyone’s fight. It was also made clear that Press Freedom and Press Rights are separate from other rights, including Human Rights. Many journalists however, are also not aware that there is a United Nations Resolution for them which they can use to get support and claim protection/freedom rights from their governments. It was founded that there remains a big gap between what happens at the United Nations and what actually happens on the ground!!


Other concerns were brought to the front such as fake news and how to identify them. It was discovered that artificial intelligence is making it difficult to detect non-genuine work from authentic facts. This poses a severe threat to everyone as there is no real way to stop fake news, especially on social media.

However, one powerful method will be to educate teachers about real facts/news, who can then, in turn, work with the children helping them to understand the difference.

In solidarity for all those who were killed while on the field, there was one minute of silence observed.

Watch event

Watch message by The Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres.

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