Ireland raising safety of journalists and the vital work of media in conflict zones
Press release24 May 2022
- Minister Coveney speaks to the Dáil about the role of journalists in Conflict Zones globally
- Ireland holds UN Security Council meeting on protection of journalists
Recognising that media freedom and the safety of journalists remain under threat around the world and acknowledging the critical role of journalists and media professionals in ensuring transparency and accountability from those in power, Minister Coveney addressed the Dáil today, Tuesday 23 May.
The Minister said:
“While the television cameras and the eyes of the world most recently focused on the recent killings of journalists in Ukraine and the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh on 11 May in the occupied Palestinian territory, we cannot afford to overlook attacks on journalists anywhere.
Across the world, attacks against journalists occur against the background of growing authoritarianism, with associated restrictions on press freedom, increasing cyber-surveillance, as well as the growth of disinformation. In too many countries, attacks on journalists occur in tandem with a broader “pushback”, against human rights in general, and against civil and political rights in particular.
The promotion and protection of all human rights remains a key foreign policy priority for Ireland. It is central to our commitment to a rules-based multilateral order, with the United Nations at its core. We unequivocally condemn impunity and demand protection for journalists, whether in situations of conflict or otherwise.”
Ireland is prioritising Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law during our term on the United Nations Security Council. Today, Tuesday 24 May, Ireland is hosting an informal meeting of the Security Council on the protection of journalists, which will be chaired by our Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason. The meeting, which can be watched live on UN webtv from 21:30 Irish time (16:30 E.S.T. - UN Web TV | UN Web TV), will hear contributions from:
- Irene Khan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion;
- Jon Williams, Managing Director of News & Current Affairs at RTÉ, Ireland’s national public service media organisation, & Board of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists;
- Abderrahim Foukara, Aljazeera Bureau Chief USA; and
- Joshua Melvin, Washington-based correspondent for Agence France-Presse.
The killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan are just three very recent examples of where journalists have faced unacceptable attacks and threats for doing their important work. There are many others too, including in Belarus, Myanmar, Somalia and Mali.
This Security Council meeting is an opportunity for Member States to take stock of the protection of journalists in situations on the agenda of the Security Council and to discuss implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015).
24 May 2022
As part of its UN Security Council membership (2021-2022), Ireland is hosting today’s meeting in an ‘Arria’ format, which allows for a consideration of broader themes and contributions from States beyond those on the Council itself.
Security Council Resolution 2222 (2015) condemns all violations and abuses committed against journalists. It affirms that a free media constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and can contribute to the protection of civilians. It recalls that journalists, engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict, shall be considered as civilians and respected and protected as such.
Ireland took up its seat on the UN Security Council for the 2021-2022 term on 1 January 2021. Ireland’s approach to its term on the Security Council is underpinned by three core principles: Building Peace, Strengthening Conflict Prevention and Ensuring Accountability.
Ireland was previously elected to the Human Rights Council from 2013 to 2015. Building on Ireland’s achievements at the UN Security Council, the Government has decided that Ireland will seek our next term on the Human Rights Council for the period 2027 – 2029.