On Wednesday 2 November 2022, on the occassion of the International Day for the fight against the end of impunity for crimes committed against journalists, the Luxembourg Commission for UNESCO and the Luxembourg Press Council, announced support for the UNESCO message this year: "Protecting media to protect democracy" and expressed solidarity with journalists.
According to the Luxembourg Commission for UNESCO and the Luxembourg Press Council, in fifteen years, from 2006 to 2020, more than 1,200 media professionals have been killed in the exercise of their profession globally. Nine out of ten of these murders go unpunished and indeed, it is often the political authorities incriminated by investigations and media research who ensure that these crimes are not punished. Media professionals and their collaborators (drivers and translators) who work for a free press and therefore for an informed democracy risk their health and their lives, without those responsible for these attacks and murders being judged. 93% of the journalists killed were local journalists, living and working in countries where telling the truth is dangerous. UNESCO has launched an urgent appeal to governments and civil society to join it in ending impunity for these attacks, which not only target human beings but human rights and the systems of law and justice.
In recognition of the profound consequences of impunity for crimes committed against media professionals, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, at its 68th session in 2013, a resolution proclaiming 2 November as the "International Day for the end of impunity for crimes committed against journalists”. This resolution urges all Member States to put in place specific measures to combat the current culture of impunity. The date was chosen in memory of the assassination of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, two French journalists killed in Mali on 2 November 2013.
As part of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, a high-level conference will be organised on 3 and 4 November 2022 in Vienna, Austria. Luxembourg will participate in this conference through its ambassador to UNESCO, who will announce Luxembourg's support for the cause of the safety of journalists and media professionals, in particular through the IPDC (international programme on the development of communication) of UNESCO, and the platform to strengthen the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists of the Council of Europe.
Even if journalists working in the Grand Duchy are not directly exposed to the risks of a war front in the country, society as a whole must remain vigilant in the face of all types of pressure, including economic ones, which may be exerted on media professionals. UNESCO's message for 2 November 2022 is therefore clear: "Protect the media to protect democracy", a free press being an essential basis for democracy and beyond for peace and global development.