Remarks at the United Nations Security Council Arria-formula Meeting on The Protection of Journalists

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
New York, New York
May 24, 2022


Thank you, Madam President and thank you to our briefers for sharing such meaningful and deeply personal insights this afternoon.

The United States remains deeply concerned over the targeted harassment of journalists in many places around the world, including Belarus, Iraq, Mexico, Burma, Russia, and the Philippines. A free and independent media is essential to democracy and plays a crucial role in the free exchange of information and ideas, combatting corruption, and making government more accountable and transparent.

We mourn the heart-wrenching loss of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11. Shireen was a widely respected veteran reporter whose work was followed closely by those who care about the region, and she is truly mourned by all who knew her. We strongly condemn her killing as we do the killing of all journalists worldwide. And, we continue to call for a thorough and impartial investigation into Shireen’s death. We expect full accountability for those found responsible upon the conclusion of an investigation.

We were also deeply disturbed by the violence that took place during her funeral procession. All families deserve to bury their loved ones in a dignified and unimpeded manner.

We also note the chilling reports that at least seven journalists have been killed while covering Russia’s unprovoked and unwarranted war against Ukraine. Reportedly, at least 21 more journalists have been unjustly detained within the areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia, many of whose fate is unknown. These figures may only be the tip of the iceberg and they highlight Russia’s fear of truthful reporting of its war.

We also note that Women in journalism are disproportionately impacted by threats and attacks, which are more often gendered and sexualized than threats against their male counterparts and increasingly take place online. A “one size fits all” approach may risk under-addressing the gendered and intersectional forms of abuse on women in media. The U.S. urges UN efforts to address journalists’ safety and take into account the unique context and characteristics of risk that may be tied to individuals’ identities.

The United States condemns all threats, harassment, and violence against journalists and media workers. No members of the press should be threatened or physically attacked by anyone for any reason, or arrested or detained, simply for doing their job. No journalists should face harassment, intimidation, or violence for doing their job. Journalists’ voices are essential to a fully functioning, free society. We share the commitment to promote accountability for crimes against journalists and media workers, as expressed in our co-sponsorship of this session’s Third Committee General Assembly resolution on “The Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity”.

Currently, the UN’s creation of a network of focal points for addressing the safety of journalists does not appear to have been sufficient or effective. While a “single, strategic, and harmonized approach”, as proposed in the 2012 UN Plan of Action is still lacking, we note that fifteen resolutions have been adopted by the principal UN Charter-based bodies since this plan was created, including UNSC Resolution 2222. Recent tragedies only highlight that we must now prioritize the effective implementation of these resolutions and enhance attention to this in the Security Council and across the UN system.

Thank you Madam Chair.