Vienna, 7 October 2011 – Five years ago, the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskayawas killed. Commemorating her assassination, Foreign Minister, Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger demanded that the case should finally be solved and called for enhanced protection of journalists world-wide. “Some progress was achieved recently when the alleged murderer of Ms. Politkovskaya and other suspects were imprisoned. In order to restore trust in democracy and the constitutional state, however, it is essential for this killing to be fully solved. The people who ordered her assassination must also be caught and punished”, Spindelegger said.
Anna Politkovskaya had gained an international reputation for her critical commitment to the preservation of fundamental rights and freedoms in the Northern Caucasus region and received repeated death threats. This was also the reason why she stayed in Vienna for some months in 2001.
The Foreign Minister also drew attention to the challenges of defending the freedom of the media world-wide. Ever more assaults are being made against journalists. What is particularly alarming is the increase in the number of targeted killings of journalists. Regrettably, the violent death of Anna Politkovskaya five years ago was only one prominent example of a serious problem that is becoming more and more pressing in many countries. A major obstacle for the protection of journalists is the impunity of the perpetrators.”
An open and democratic society needs free and critical media coverage. Austria and the EU are therefore advocating the detection and prevention of assaults on representatives of the media. Austria will continue its commitment in this field in the UN Human Rights Council and aims to put the topic permanently on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. Our focus will be on the fight against impunity and the prevention of future assaults“, the Foreign Minister concluded.
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