Statement by the Secretary General Thomas E. Garrett on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

November 2, 2023

Access to independent and diverse media is crucial to an informed and engaged citizenry.

Today’s world is connected more than ever, but the values of press freedom and freedom of opinion and expression face threats worldwide, and for many journalists, reporting comes at the cost of threats, intimidation, harassment, unjust detention or even murder.

As we observe International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, I pay tribute to all journalists killed for bringing news to the public. I call on all governments to strengthen institutional mechanisms that combat violence and ensure accountability for crimes against media workers.

The Community of Democracies (CoD) remains engaged in a multi-stakeholder dialogue to protect shared values of democracy and human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression and the right of the press to collect and disseminate news and information.

A recent event held by the CoD and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) on the margins of the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council spoke to the vital role of diplomatic missions in protecting journalists and safeguarding media freedoms. The Toolkit on the Safety of Journalists for the Personnel of the Diplomatic Missions, developed by the CoD and updated with the support of OHCR, aims at raising awareness and providing guidance to diplomats on how to provide practical support to journalists in danger.

The upcoming 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that freedom of opinion and expression and its corollary, media freedom, remain crucial for realizing other human rights. In times of growing disinformation and misinformation, creating a safe and enabling environment for offline and online independent fact-based reporting is more critical than ever.