Rights experts issue call for media protection in Press Freedom Day declaration
Human rights experts from around the world have joined together to call for greater media protection and to end attacks on journalists.
Their appeal comes in a joint declaration issued on Wednesday, ahead of World Press Freedom Day, marked on 3 May.
It highlights growing threats to media independence and diversity worldwide, particularly those affecting digital outlets.
David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and one of the signatories, emphasized the importance of free and independent media in bolstering democratic institutions.
He urged Governments to do more to prevent attacks on journalists.
These attacks, he said, “stem in part from increasingly irresponsible framing of journalists as ‘enemies’ by political and business leaders, but are also aimed at deterring investigative reporting in the public interest”.
The joint declaration also urges Governments to promote media independence and diversity.
It was issued by Mr. Kaye and counterparts from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Ninety per cent of the world breathing polluted air: WHO
The vast majority of people on the planet are breathing polluted air, according to new data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The UN agency estimates 9 out of 10 people worldwide live in areas with high levels of air pollution, resulting in approximately 7 million deaths each year from diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and pneumonia.
Most of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.
However, WHO said countries are increasingly taking action.
More than 4,300 cities are now part of its database that collects information on air quality worldwide.
The agency also reports “positive progress” in some urban areas, for example Mexico City, which plans to move to soot-free buses and ban diesel cars by 2025.
Affordable vitamin A supplements could save millions of young lives: UNICEF
A simple and affordable solution could protect more than 140 million children worldwide from being at greater risk of illness, hearing loss, blindness and death, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.
The agency has launched a report that calls on Governments to reach all children with life-saving vitamin A supplements which boost the immune system, providing protection against potentially fatal diseases such as measles and diarrhoea.
The cost: as little as two cents a dose.
Although two doses of vitamin A each year can save lives, UNICEF reports only about half of the children in the Pacific region have access to these supplements.
Sheldon Yett, the agency’s representative in the Pacific, lamented that too many children there “are missing out on a low-cost, high-impact health intervention, which not only helps children to survive, but thrive”.
In the region, vitamin A supplements are traditionally delivered through routine health centre visits, but many children on remote islands miss out.
UNICEF warns that the lack of vitamin A supplementation globally represents “a severe blow” to efforts to drive down child mortality.
The report also calls for building stronger health systems to ensure regular and equitable delivery of services, in addition to tracking all children through better use of health cards.