The Centre for Freedom of the Media welcomes and endorses the Report being published today by the independent High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom on Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk. The Centre fully supports the Panel’s key message to State authorities that they must take proactive and effective actions to implement the Recommendations set out in the Report to be in compliance with their legal and political obligations.
In response to the release of the Report, CFOM’s International Director William Horsley and CFOM’s chair, Professor Jackie Harrison, who is also the chairholder of the UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity, said:
“The Report on Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk sets out in clear and practical terms how State authorities, supported by international institutions, should establish effective Pathways to enable journalists at risk in their home countries to find safe refuge elsewhere, and should also take the practical measures as outlined in the Report to strengthen in-country protections. Together with the other Enforcement Reports produced by the Panel, these Recommendations can fill a crucial missing link in the existing framework of legal protections for journalists’ freedom and safety, by ensuring that States’ obligations in this regard do not remain merely theoretical, but are made practical and effective.
“This Report helps to provide a much-needed template to achieve effective compliance with States’ obligations under domestic and international law — by strengthening the enforcement of those protections through better monitoring of States’ compliance, enacting effective measures of protection for journalists at risk, ensuring effective remedies for attacks and abuses against journalists, and enhancing the authority of international investigative teams to end the scourge of impunity for crimes committed against journalists.
“These extremely important Recommendations, including innovative proposals for new and stronger mechanisms of oversight and protection, represent an urgent reminder to the international community that the genuine protection of the safety and rights of journalists is vital to safeguard the universal rights to freedom of expression and other fundamental rights, and for the protection of democracy itself.”
The Centre for Freedom of the Media is an inter-disciplinary centre for research, advocacy and teaching at the University of Sheffield