Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Protection of Journalists
17 July 2013
At the outset, I would like to thank the President for his leadership in convening this open debate. I would also like to express my appreciation for the valuable briefings given by H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy-Secretary-General, Mr. Richard Engel from NBC, Ms. Kathleen Carroll from the Associated Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, Mr. Mustafa Haji Abdinur from AFP, and Mr. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad from The Guardian.
In 2012, the number of journalists killed globally was tragically high, exceeding more than 120; a number which includes several Japanese journalists. We would like to express our sincere condolences for those who have fallen in their effort to investigate and deliver facts to all the world’s people. Against this background, it is both timely and meaningful that the Security Council is holding an Open Debate which focuses on the protection of journalists. It is especially important that the Security Council, which is responsible for international peace and security, hear perspectives directly from journalists who have worked in the field and who have broad experiences in the coverage of active conflicts even in the face of grave personal danger.
Attacks against journalists are attacks against the freedom of expression. As pointed out in the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, ‘without freedom of expression, and particularly freedom of the press, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible.’ In particular, the suffering of people in situations of active conflict, where, unfortunately, numerous human rights abuses and humanitarian crises occur, would not be known to the world without the courageous actions of journalists. Protecting journalists means shedding light on suffering, informing people of the truth and contributing to the improvement of the situation. In other words, journalists are not only defenders of the freedom of expression, but they also play a significant role in shaping and securing the foundation of democracy through their reporting and their contributions to the improvement and enhancement of human rights.
The framework for the protection of journalists began with the Geneva Conventions, and was further developed through the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1738 and the UN Plan of Action, which I have already mentioned. However, we still face challenges in the implementation of these frameworks.
In particular, the fight against impunity, especially in terms of prevention, is of critical importance. In cases where Japanese journalists have died or been killed, the Government of Japan requests that the countries concerned provide detailed information on each incident, and expects justice to be brought. Japan would like to commend and reiterate the importance of efforts to record incidences of the killing of journalists, to survey responses thereto and to publicize those results, including those by the Committee to Protect Journalists and UNESCO.
Security Council Resolution 1738, adopted in 2006, sheds light on the issue of the protection of journalists. However, the circumstances surrounding the security of journalists are yet to be improved. Furthermore, we should not forget the fact that there are also many non-conflict cases where journalists are in grave danger. The Security Council should consider ways to prevent tragedies for journalists and act to further encourage good-practices.
Thank you, Mr. President.