Vienna, 23 November 2013 – "I am deeply concerned and shocked by the murder of 92 journalists worldwide since the beginning of 2013. Moreover, a significantly higher number of these champions of freedom of the press and freedom of information are attacked and intimidated regularly and their families must live in constant fear. The protection of journalists is thus a priority for Austria's term as chair of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers until May 2014. It is our objective to reach better implementation of standards and commitments in the member states", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on today's International Day to End Impunity of Crimes against Journalists.
"Objective, critical, multi-faceted media coverage from different angles – no matter if it is via newspapers, radio, TV or the Internet – is the basis for the promotion of the democratic debate involving all citizens. I offer my respects to all journalists who are determined to provide objective and critical information despite threats and adverse conditions. Their work is vital for the protection of human rights and democracy", Spindelegger continued.
Austria provides valuable input to the United Nations' efforts geared at improving the protection of journalists: Upon an Austrian initiative, a first United Nations session is to be held on good practices of states to protect journalists. Austria is currently supporting a UNESCO study on the special safety requirements for female journalists who are ever more often exposed to sexual violence.
"Our focus must be on preventive protection plus consistent prosecution and punishment of intimidation and violence against journalists, because impunity always creates more violence. Effective measures will only be possible by close and pro-active cooperation of governments, journalists, the civil society and international organisations. I am pleased by the continued close cooperation between Austria and the International Press Institute in this highly important field", Spindelegger concluded.
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