BBG Decries Ongoing Threats to Journalists Worldwide, Calls on United Nations to Act

Alhurra reporter Bashar Fahmi in the field

Alhurra reporter Bashar Fahmi has been missing in Syria since August 20, 2012

Washington, D.C. — The Broadcasting Board of Governors joined other international media organizations today in urging United Nations action to protect journalists worldwide as threats and attacks against members of the media continued to mount.

In a statement released today, seven leading government-supported international media organizations known collectively as the DG7 called upon the UN Security Council to stand up against media suppression and urge governments to bring to justice those who harm journalists and media workers.

“In a world that is increasingly integrated and interdependent, attacks on journalists are attacks on civil society and the entire international system,” said BBG Chair Jeff Shell. “The BBG urges the Security Council to take more aggressive steps to hold member states accountable to the guarantees of Article 19.”

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

This vision, part of the international consensus on universal freedoms since World War II, is under threat where journalists are working to keep people informed of what is happening in their countries and around the globe.

In Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria and Vietnam, journalists have been arrested and imprisoned for challenging official restrictions on the media and imparting information that serves the public interest. In many more countries, including the Russian Federation and Belarus, they have had their on-line communications examined, corrupted and hacked. The websites of independent media outlets are chronically blocked in Iran, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. War and insurgency have claimed the lives of journalists in Africa, Asia and across the Middle East, while targeted acts of physical violence and psychological intimidation are perpetrated against reporters. And in Mali, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation and Somalia, journalists have been murdered in recent years.

More information about threats and attacks against journalists within the BBG network can be found here.

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