Sharp rise in media workers killed

Media workers killed around the world last year rose by a horrific 50 percent according to the United Nations (UN).

This was revealed by the United Nations (UN) Zimbabwe Resident Coordinator Mr. Edward Kallon during the UN Regional Workshop to Upscale UN-wide Understanding of the Rights to Freedom of Expression, Access to Information, and Safety of Journalists in Sub-Saharan Africa currently ongoing in Victoria Falls.

Kallon said the rapid decline in freedom of expression globally had disturbed the UN.

Zimbabwe has not recorded any journalist deaths, although media groups report arrests and beating of media workers, albeit at a lower scale following media reforms and opening up of spaces undertaken by the Second Republic.

“The Secretary General expressed His concern that Freedom of expression is in free-fall and the number of media workers killed around the world last year rose by a horrific 50 percent.”

He called for the advancement of Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Information and Safety of Journalists in Sub Saharan Africa adding that the UN had forthcoming plans to do so.

“As we deliberate and exchange over the next two days, it is my sincere hope that as a regional grouping of RCs, in the spirit of human rights at 75 initiative, we will leave this workshop with the commitment to a set of pledges to advance the rights to Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Information and Safety of Journalists in Sub Saharan Africa,” he said.

He revealed that in July the United Nations will launch a new Agenda for Protection.

“This important initiative will seek to strengthen support from across the United Nations system to Member States to protect people and their rights, both in times of peace and in times of crisis and conflict,” he said.

He reiterated the Secretary General’s call for the revitalization of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as it recognises the freedom of expression which cannot be isolated from the social, economic, and democratic processes of a country or any context.

“Calling for the revitalization of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights during his address to the Human Rights Council in February this year, the Secretary-General reminded us that we ought to remember that the UDHR is a solution to all contemporary challenges – political, social, economic, and cultural,” the envoy said.

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