Safe Journalism?

  •  united nations
  • Inter Press Service

Frank La Rue, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, stressed safety as a key to quality journalism. He told reporters here that threats of violence and intimidation against media, and a continuing crisis of impunity that denies justice to the victims of violence, feature prominently in his latest report to the United Nations General Assembly.

The 'dangerous' environment for journalists in Mexico is caused primarily by drug cartels and a corrupt government, Adela Navarro Bello, director general of the weekly Mexican magazine Zeta, told reporters. More than 30 journalists have been murdered or have gone missing in Mexico since December 2006.

In Russia, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reports that more than 300 journalists have been killed since 1993 - most of them in obscure circumstances, such as those surrounding the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.

La Rue is calling for a better allocation of resources, with an independent budget, and he proposes the creation of a U.N. Commission dedicated to freedom of media. These measures would help to create an 'environment allowing journalists to work easily' - which is needed for achieving quality information, said Aidan White, IFJ Secretary General.

All the panelists stressed the importance of quality information as a key indicator of freedom of expression and democracy in a country.

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