“Journalists, bloggers, and other media representatives constantly risk their lives to serve our right to know. Tyrants and terrorists are especially afraid of information, freedom of expression, freedom of speech. According to data released by UNESCO, statistically one journalist is killed every week. Even 95 percent of crimes against journalists go unpunished,” said Lithuania’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė.
Lithuania’s permanent representative noted that the UN had contributed significantly to the evolvement of the legal framework for the protection of journalists over the past decade, but the implementation of these legal norms was still the most serious problem.
“In May, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution on the protection of civilians in armed conflict that was submitted by Lithuania. This resolution urges Member States to ensure that effective and independent investigations relating to crimes against journalists are undertaken, breaking the cycle of impunity. It is important to incorporate those provisions into national legal systems of each country,” the Lithuanian ambassador told the participants of the discussion. She reminded that it was necessary to energetically and consistently support the consolidation of the rule of law, democratic institutions and human rights in order to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators.
The Lithuanian representative pointed out that in cases where States were themselves unable to ensure accountability for crimes against journalists, international mechanisms may contribute, e.g., the International Criminal Court.
The protection of journalists in armed conflict is one of the priorities for Lithuania’s membership of the UN Security Council. On 27 May, the UN Security Council adopted the resolution (S/RES/2222 (2015) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict that was drafted by Lithuania. The resolution urges Member States to take active steps to ensure accountability for crimes against journalists and other media representatives in armed conflict. This is the first resolution of the UN Security Council, which recognises the role of free and independent media, and the right of free expression – “online as well as offline”.
Lithuania was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2014-2015 term.