I thank France and Guatemala for convening this important meeting. We particularly welcome the adoption of the “Arria” format: since protection of journalists is a key concern of civil society, it is right that this Security Council debate be held in the public eye. That the Council should show this willingness to be transparent and open to the rest of the membership and to the media community – and on such a crucial issue – is commendable.
We are living in the age of information and communication and the world is more hungry than ever for information; and information is more necessary than ever for the affirmation of democracy and the defense of human rights.
Journalism plays a key role in this scenario, and it is essential that media operators be able to freely access sources of information and share them without fear of punitive consequences. Unfortunately, their job seems to have become increasingly dangerous, especially for women journalists. Representatives of the media are killed, attacked, tortured, arbitrarily imprisoned, sexually harassed and raped. Yet judging from the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Protection of Civilians, impunity for the perpetrators seems to be the rule.
So I wish to underscore the important role that all the bodies of the United Nations can play in promoting this agenda. For example, the Third Committee recently adopted by consensus a resolution on the safety of journalist and the issue of impunity, put forward by a cross-regional group of countries. Italy is proud to have been one of the co-sponsors. This important resolution urges States to prevent violence against journalists and bring their perpetrators to justice. It also proclaims 1 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Italy hopes this day will shed more light on an issue that deserves our utmost attention.
My country also paid its tribute: in Mozambique, in Somalia, in Bosnia, in Georgia, in Palestine, in Afghanistan, since 1987, 10 women and men journalists from Italy in conflict situations paid with their lives their commitment to the job. Their sacrifice for freedom shall not be forgotten.
In closing, we welcome the attention the Security Council is dedicating to this matter by convening this meeting as well as the one held in July of this year. We agree with the Secretary-General that now is the time to transform this attention into significant resolutions and actions to strengthen the protection of journalists when it’s needed.
Thank you, Mr. President.