HRC50: Item 3 – Interactive Dialogue – FOE – Media in the digital age
HRHF video statement
24 June 2022
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The Special Rapporteur highlights the global decline in media freedom and the rise in threats to the safety of journalists.
This trend is marked by the growth of online disinformation and smear campaigns targeting human rights defenders, including journalists, which can then have offline consequences, with numerous examples of physical attacks following online threats.
We are also worried about the growth of online surveillance and the use of legal harassment such as strategic litigation against public participation, both of which can have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.
In the wider European region, we are concerned for the 29 journalists imprisoned in Belarus as documented by the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
We are concerned for media outlets in Russia, like Novaya Gazeta or Meduza, that have been labeled a “foreign agent” or needed to suspend their activities. And for Russian journalists who now face up to 15 years in prison for objectively reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In Azerbaijan, newly amended legislation effectively bans all forms of independent journalism, and we highlight recent physical attacks against independent journalists including against Ayten Mammedova in May.
We also join the increasing number of international voices condemning the attacks against journalists and media representatives in Georgia.
We ask the Special Rapporteur how to better support independent journalists and media outlets in places where objective reporting can bring severe penalties?