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UN rights chief: Safety of journalists is not just a question of personal security, it is a question of safety and health of entire societies

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Press release

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice

Geneva: May 3, 2023


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has emphasized that freedom of expression is not just fundamental human right, it is the lifeblood that nourishes healthy and vibrant societies, and without it we cannot challenge injustice, bring about change, or engage in the discussions that make us fundamentally human.


An aggressive trend towards restricting freedom of expression:


“Without freedom of expression – a great enabler of all our other rights – there is very little freedom at all. ” Türk said in a speech published by the Media Center of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day.

“As we mark 30 years of World Press Freedom Day, all around the world, we are seeing the forceful closure of those frontiers and an alarming and aggressive trend towards the shutdown of freedom of speech,” the High Commissioner noted.

“Although journalists are some of its most critical conduits – equipping the world with information and facts – we see a new normal where they face mounting threats,” Türk continued.

The High Commissioner states the ways in which journalists are being silenced Through defamation, censorship, routine media shutdowns, arbitrary arrest, or direct online and physical attacks on them, their friends and their families.

87 journalists killed and 323 arrested in 2022:

Turk stated that in 2022, 87 journalists were killed, and 323 journalists were arrested. “Journalism is not a crime, yet an artillery of new laws and lawsuits tell a different story,” he stressed.

“In January, I called on Governments to release all people arbitrarily detained, whether for exercising their rights or by contravention of their rights, including journalists and human rights defenders jailed for doing their essential work,” he concluded.

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