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Statement by Denmark on protection of journalists in conflict situations

28.05.2015  15:25
Delivered by H.E. Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations at the Security Council Open Debate on protection of journalists in conflict situations. 27 May.

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Thank you Madam President,

Denmark aligns itself with the statement previously given by the European Union and has the following remarks to add as well.

First of all, let me thank the Lithuanian Presidency of the Security Council for bringing back this important issue to the Council. Let me also thank Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson for his briefing and [the journalists] for their testimonies.

Denmark’s efforts to support media freedom – including the protection of journalists - are an integral part of years’ efforts to enhance civil society and human rights.

The rights of journalists and the free media need to be protected – all over the world. Persecution of journalists is not a phenomenon restricted to only a few countries.

Denmark believes that journalists must be protected to be able to carry out their work without fear of retribution, attack, or worse.

Madam President,

In too many countries the state uses media laws in order to keep media from criticizing those in power. This is deeply worrying – though not a new phenomenon. But what is a new - and equally deeply worrying - trend is the fact that journalists are now being deliberately targeted, not only by oppressive regimes, but also from terror organizations and militia groups such as ISIS.

Never since the end of the Second World War have we witnessed such a distressingly large number of armed conflicts in and between countries. Sadly, this also reflects on the number of journalists killed. Last year alone 61 journalists were killed and this year the reported death toll has already reached 25.

Madam President,

In 2012, the UN adopted the "UN Plan of Action on safety for journalists and the issue of impunity". This was an important step to address journalists' individual safety globally. However, protection of journalists and the free media is an ongoing effort that can’t be solved only through such top-down initiatives. These initiatives need to be combined with actual action on the ground.

At the Global Media Freedom Conference 2015 held in Copenhagen last month, the Danish Minister for Trade and Development launched two initiatives aiming at strengthening free media in developing countries and in fragile states, both of which include strong components for the protection of journalists: One program of approx. 2 million USD through The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and an additional approximate 750.000 USD through International Media Support in cooperation with International Federation of Journalists.

Allow me to conclude by echoing what other colleagues have already underlined: Freedom of opinion and expression are indeed fundamental rights of every human being. Today’s debate [and the resolution adopted by the council] marks an important contribution to our common efforts.

I thank you Madam President.