UN expert on freedom of expression blasts attacks on media

UN expert on freedom of expression blasts attacks on media

Media rights experts, including the United Nations authority on the freedom of opinion and expression, have condemned continuing attacks on journalists and the possible challenge to editorial independence posed by the concentration of media ownership.

UN Special Rapporteur Ambeyi Ligabo, Freimut Duve, the Representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on the freedom of the media, and Eduardo Bertoni, the Special Rapporteur of the Organization of American States on the freedom of expression, issued a joint statement yesterday condemning attacks on journalists and the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of such abuses.

The experts also recognized the interdependence of a free media and an independent judiciary, and stressed that concentration in ownership of the media and the means of communication might challenge editorial independence. In addition, their statement condemned criminal defamation as an unjustifiable restriction to freedom of expression.

The statement came at the conclusion of their meeting in London from 9 to 10 December to discuss challenges to freedom of speech and the media. The gathering was the fourth since 1999 organized by Article 19, a free-speech advocacy group.