Sommaire: 22 October 2010, New York - European Union Question at the United Nations General Assembly 65th session, Third Committee Interactive dialogue with Frank La Rue, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
The EU would like to thank the Special Rapporteur, Frank La Rue, for his first report to the General Assembly which we studied with great interest. The European Union shares his alarm and concerns about the increasing number of killings and harassment of journalists and other media personnel. This negative trend is aggravated by extremely high level of impunity for the mentioned crimes. The European Union wishes to join Special Rapporteur's call to States to assume their responsibility to
protect the journalists and others who exercise their right to freedom of expression - by exercising due diligence and taking protective measures. As the Special Rapporteur's noted, on average four out of ten journalists received threats before their killing.
The European Union appreciates that in his report Mr La Rue paid special attention to trends regarding violence against journalists in situations of armed conflict. The European Union has been increasingly engaged in crisis management operations at different stages of the conflict. While various human rights aspects have already been integrated into our mission OPLANs and crisis management training, your report and other efforts could provide elements to improve our performance in human rights area. In this context, we took good note of your proposal to convene another Human Rights Council panel to consider the protection of journalists in situations where the threshold of armed conflict has not been reached; given the fact that more journalist are killed in non-conflict situations than in armed conflicts. Could you provide more information on this idea?
We welcome that Special Rapporteur drew the attention to difficulties faced by "citizen journalists" and we await with anticipation his full thematic report on the freedom of expression and internet. This is an important and emerging subject and we, the General Assembly, have been already compelled to react to violations of rights to freedom of expression and freedom to access information in connection with the work of "citizen journalists". New technologies have provided unprecedented access to means of global communication and allowed transmitting news even in the countries where freedom of expression is restricted. Could you elaborate on what seem to be the main vulnerabilities - both legal and practical - in the protection of these "citizen journalists"? Have you been cooperating with regional human rights mechanisms on this subject?
Finally, let me re-assure you about the full support of the European Union to your important and valuable work and your mandate.