The UN Sounds Alarm Bells over Media Freedoms

Journalists and media workers are facing “increasing politicization” of their work and threats to their freedom to simply do their jobs, that are “growing by the day”, said the UN Chief, marking World Press Freedom Day.

Speaking on Tuesday, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has paid tribute to courageous journalists who continue to risk their lives for their work.

Many reporters have “little choice but to work amidst ever-increasing harassment, intimidation, surveillance and risk to their lives and livelihoods”, Ms. Bachelet insisted, at a ceremony in Geneva:

“They do so for the sake of all of us. So that we have access to free, accurate and independent information. So that we can live in just and peaceful societies”, she added. “Their work helps build the foundation for some of the fundamental human rights we should all enjoy: freedom of opinion, information and expression.”

It is crucial that journalists continue to expose atrocities, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted, her comments following her condemnation of deadly communal violence in Sudan’s Darfur, and reported summary executions of civilians in Bucha in Ukraine.

Despite the crucial role of journalists in society, Ms. Bachelet warned that they continue face “grave threat(s)”, even in supposedly safe and democratic places, before noting that 293 media professionals were killed worldwide last year.

The market for social media surveillance has grown, giving intelligence and law enforcement agencies new tools for combing through massive amounts of information.

Therefore, we call to limit social media surveillance market at the national, regional and global levels.

We also stress that the use of social media surveillance techniques and technologies pose a serious threat to privacy and other fundamental rights and freedoms.

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