Statement at the 44th Annual Session of the Committee on Information

Elijah Waterman
Counselor for Public Affairs
New York, New York
May 13, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you as well to the Department of Global Communications and the COI Secretariat for their support, and my colleagues from the Permanent Missions who have worked so diligently on this Resolution. I wish you all my congratulations.

As noted by others, this session began on World Press Freedom Day, and I thank the Committee for including language in this year’s Resolution specifically on the protection of journalists. I echo the sentiments expressed by Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield about the tragic killing of American citizen and Al Jazeera journalist, Shireeen Abu Aklah. We strongly condemn her killing and call for an immediate and thorough investigation to determine the circumstances around her killing

As the Committee is aware, investigating attacks on independent media and delivering accountability are of paramount importance. We convey our deepest condolences to her family, her friends, her colleagues, and to everyone around the world who was touched by her and who feel her loss.

We will continue to promote media freedom and protect journalists’ ability to do their jobs without fear of violence, threats to their lives or safety, or unjust detention around the world, and including in the Resolution we have adopted today.

The United States would like to take this opportunity to make points of clarification on language contained in the resolution. We understand abbreviated references to certain human rights in this resolution to be shorthand references for the more accurate and widely accepted terms used in the applicable treaties or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we maintain our long-standing positions on those rights. We do not read references to specific principles, such as proportionality, to imply that States have an obligation under international law to apply or act in accordance with those principles.

Furthermore, we underscore our position that trade language, negotiated or adopted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council or under their auspices, has no relevance for U.S. trade policy, for our trade obligations or commitments, or for the agenda at the World Trade Organization, including discussions or negotiations in that forum.

While the UN and WTO share common interests, they have different roles, rules, and memberships. Similarly, this includes calls to adopt approaches that may undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology transfer that is not both voluntary and on mutually agreed terms.

In concluding, I want to thank Under Secretary General Fleming for her leadership of the UN Department of Global Communications and Ambassador Espinosa, as the Chairperson of the 44th Session of the Committee on Information. I also want to thank in particular the delegation from Pakistan for their leadership in negotiating the adoption by consensus of this Resolution.

Thank you.