UN Chief decries rise in attacks against journalists

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday said there had been a rise in the “scale and number of attacks’’ against journalists around the world in recent times.

In a message to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, Guterres said, “societies as a whole pay the price’’ when journalists were targeted.

“Freedom of expression and free media are essential to fostering understanding, bolstering democracy and advancing our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“ In recent years, however, there has been a rise in the scale and number of attacks against the physical safety of journalists and media workers.

“There are also growing incidents infringing upon their ability to do their vital work, including threats of prosecution, arrest, imprisonment, denial of journalistic access and failures to investigate and prosecute crimes against them.

“The proportion of women among fatalities has also risen, and women journalists increasingly face gendered forms of violence, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault and threats,’’ he said.

The UN chief noted that without protection of journalists, societies would lose their abilities to stay informed and contribute to decision-making.

“Without journalists able to do their jobs in safety, we face the prospect of a world of confusion and disinformation.

“On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, let us stand up together for journalists, for truth and for justice,’’ he added.