United Nations – A UN expert on human rights, Margaret Sekaggya, has called for greater protection for journalists and media workers reporting on human rights.
Sekaggya in a report at the UN Headquarters in New York, said that recent global events highlighted the fact that journalists and media workers reporting on human rights issues were particularly vulnerable to threats and attacks.
“Because of the potential impact on society that journalists and media workers can have by disseminating information about human rights through a wide array of media, those individuals are often threatened, wounded and killed in an attempt to silence their voices.
“Their work is of extreme importance in holding governments accountable. However, those same governments often crack down on them, including through threats, harassment, arrests, detentions, and in the worst of cases killings,” the report quoted Sekaggya as saying.
It said restrictions on media and press freedom, and impunity around violations against journalists and media workers defending human rights could foster a climate of intimidation, stigmatisation, violence and self-censorship that could have a chilling effect on their work.
“States should publicly recognise the role of these defenders and ensure prompt and impartial investigations and the prosecution of those responsible for violations against them..
“State actors, including government officials, state security forces and the judiciary, are reportedly the perpetrators of many of the violations committed against these defenders.
“Journalists, environmental, students and youth rights defenders and those working on land issues are in significant need of protection.”(NAN)