Guterres demands greater protection for journalists working on environmental issues

The UN chief said journalists and media workers “have a key role in informing and educating” the public about the world’s ongoing environmental and climate emergency, which poses a threat to future generations.

It is through this work that people can have a greater understanding of the environmental factors affecting the world and advocate for change, he said.

However, according to recent data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Reports, journalists, especially environmental journalists, face violent attacks and even death, simply for doing their jobs.

Dozens of journalists covering illegal mining, logging, poaching and other environmental issues have been murdered in recent decades.”Guterres said. But “in the vast majority of cases, no one has been held accountable.”

sounding the alarm

The UNESCO report analyzed the violence faced by environmental journalists.

The report found that journalists and media outlets reporting on environmental issues faced some 750 attacks in the past 15 years, the Secretary-General said.

In an interview with UN NewsGuilherme Canela, Head of Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists at UNESCO, said the report found that 70 percent of journalists covering environmental reporting addressed at least one form of violence, and a quarter of journalists surveyed addressed legal attacks.

Additionally, Canela said that in the last 50 years, 44 journalists covering environmental stories were murdered.

He said it is important to remember that journalists are important observers of conflict zones and provide life-saving information to civilian populations affected by these conflicts.

Canela said: “UNESCO is sounding the alarm that We must take care of the protection of journalists who cover environmental issues, because creating that awareness about what is happening in the environment and holding powerful actors accountable is absolutely essential to face the current environmental challenges that the planet is having.”

Safety for all journalists

In a declaration For World Press Freedom Day, Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that losing a journalist means losing a human rights defender, and that the world needs “Independent, ethical and quality journalism perhaps now more than ever.

Türk said journalists – emphasizing environmental journalists – need “stronger commitments from their governments and employers to protect them,” safer working environments and the right to work free from attack.

The Secretary-General also recognized the “invaluable” work of journalists and their efforts to keep the public informed and engaged, and calls on governments, private sectors and civil societies to recommit to protecting press freedom and rights. rights of journalists and media professionals worldwide.

Without freedom of the press we will not have freedom.” he said. “A free press is not a choice, but a necessity.