Didier Reynders advocates media freedom and safety of journalists
Today is the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists*. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders reiterates Belgium’s commitment to promote freedom of expression and media freedom, online and offline. Respect for this fundamental right is indispensable for individual dignity and fulfilment, and is an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace and stability. Through their work, journalists help safeguard the fundamental values of our democracy by keeping those in power accountable to citizens. Citizens need to have unimpeded access to information to have a say in a democracy. Unfortunately, the critical role of journalists and media is too often undermined by intimidation and violence. Sometimes journalists even pay with their lives for the work they do.
Didier Reynders calls upon authorities everywhere to take real steps to track down and prosecute those who commit crimes against journalists. Last year, Belgian diplomacy took initiatives to protect journalists in Somalia, Syria and other countries in the world where it is difficult for the media workers to do their job. Last week the Belgian delegation to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva advocated for media freedom in two countries that presented their human rights balance sheet to the international community.
For Minister Reynders, it is important that Belgium and the EU continue to advocate freedom of the media and safety of journalists in bilateral contacts, both in a European and global context, and in regional and international organisations, including the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. Our country will assume the presidency of the latter organisation from November 13th. Belgium will also promote media freedom and safety of journalists in this capacity.
* UNGA resolution A/RES/68/163