Tuesday 15 February 2011

Worldwide CPJ survey: 'Journalists in danger are abandoned by international institutions'

"Today's sad reality is that while international law guarantees the right to free expression, journalists can rely on few international institutions to defend that right," according to Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Simon makes his claim in his introduction to a new CPJ book Attacks on the Press 2010.

He says: "While nongovernmental organizations have filled the void by challenging press freedom abusers and raising concerns internationally, these groups are spending an increasing amount of time monitoring the behavior of international governmental organizations that should be their allies in the press freedom struggle.

"It is not acceptable to shunt all responsibility for protection of press freedom to special rapporteurs, who are often politically isolated and underfunded. The political leaders of every international institution--from the United Nations to the AU, the OAS to the Council of Europe and the OSCE--need to speak out forcefully for press freedom and push back against member states who seek to block them from fulfilling this responsibility.

"They also need to work aggressively to enforce legal rulings. Journalists working in dangerous conditions feel isolated and abandoned by the very international institutions created to protect their rights. As this book documents, 145 journalists were jailed and 44 journalists were killed worldwide in 2010. Each of these violations represents an opportunity for international institutions to demand justice."

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