Media Freedom Coalition has called for the strengthening of measures to foster an enabling legal environment for freedom of expression, including for members of the media.
The Media Freedom Coalition in a communique issued at the end of the ministerial meeting expressed concern at the efforts of some states to put in place undue restrictions on a free and independent media.
They urged “governments to continue guaranteeing the freedom and independence of the media and the safety of journalists and other media professionals, as well as to refrain from imposing undue restrictions in the fight against COVID-19.”
The group also raised concerns over “the worrying growth of threats against journalists, both online and offline, that attempt to intimidate journalists and media organizations into silence.
“We condemned unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations.
“We recognized that impunity for attacks against journalists constitutes one of the main challenges to strengthening the protection of journalists.
The Coalition on media freedom thereafter “urged governments to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work without undue interference, including interference by means of legislative measures, unlawful or arbitrary surveillance, enforcement of excessive libel laws, and other measures that prevent journalists from carrying out their work.
“Governments must do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability through the conduct of investigations into alleged violence against journalists within their jurisdictions, to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice, and to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”
The coalition also recommended “implementing gender-responsive measures to protecting the safety of journalists that recognize and address the gender-specific risks faced by women and intersecting marginalized groups, including racial, ethnic and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, and persons in vulnerable situations, including LGBTI persons.”