Vienna, 23 November 2012 Press release

UN conference on safety of journalists held in Vienna

Spindelegger: Austria supports the UN in improving the protection of journalists world-wide

Vienna, 23 November 2012 – The second UNESCO Interagency Meeting on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity of assaults on journalists was held from 22 to 23 November 2012 in Austria with the support of Austria.

On the occasion of the event, Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger explained that the fight for the safety of journalists is one of the priorities of Austria's efforts in the field of human rights. Freedom of the media is a pillar of any democratic state under the rule of law and can only be ensured by independent reporting.

And yet, never before have more journalists been killed world-wide than in 2012 – actually it is the highest number since the International Press Institute began keeping count of journalists’ deaths. Austria therefore supports the United Nations in translating the existing mechanisms into concrete measures to improve journalists’ safety.

However, Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger also pointed to the progress achieved in terms of the protection of journalists. In September, for example, the UN Human Rights Council adopted – for the first time in its history – a resolution on the safety of journalists that had been initiated by Austria.

Beyond the activities of the Human Rights Council, the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has taken further steps to protect journalists. The outcome of these initiatives is the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists adopted by the Coordinating Council of the UN in April 2012.

The meeting of representatives of various UN specialised organisations, funds and programmes, other organisations, states, trade associations and NGOs that was held in Vienna on 22 and 23 November decided on substantial steps for the implementation of the UN Action Plan that are intended to lead to a noticeable reduction of violence against journalists.

An opinion piece of Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger and the Executive Director of the International Press Institute on this issue was published today in various media; please refer to  

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 3739, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213