ISLAMABAD: To devise a national strategy to protect journalists and formulate policies for freedom of expression in the country, a declaration on “safety of journalists” was signed at a hotel on Monday by different stakeholders, including members of the United Nations bodies.
The declaration was adopted after a meeting organised to provide Pakistan-specific inputs for a UN strategy to implement an action plan on journalists’ safety.
Signed by the UN office in Pakistan, parliamentarians, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, media workers, journalists and press clubs, the declaration calls for “collective and coordinated” action by all stakeholders to stop the killing and harassment of journalists and end impunity for killers.
The declaration highlights that Pakistan ranks third, behind Syria and Somalia, in a list of the deadliest nations for the press.
An implementation strategy, which is under preparation, will be made part of a “One-UN Operational Plan II”. It will run from 2013 to 2017. Under the initiative, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) will convene a conference in collaboration with other UN agencies, for example UN Information Centre and the United Nations Development Programme.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Kozue Kay Nagata, Director of Unesco in Islamabad, said: “The safety of journalists and the struggle against impunity for their killers are essential to preserve the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”