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Ambassador Harper: It is Critical to Ensure Full Respect for the Rights of Freedom of Opinion and Expression
June 11, 2014

Panel on the Safety of Journalists

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session


June 11, 2014

The United States thanks High Commissioner Navi Pillay and the panel members for their comments today.  It is critically important to ensure full respect for the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the other human rights, of all journalists and other media professionals.  In particular, we agree with the need for states to make firm political commitments to protect those fundamental freedoms, as well as take clear and effective legislative measures to prevent threats and attacks against journalists, and ensure accountability in all cases of attack.  While we do not agree with all of the legal analysis in the report, including the characterization of freedom of expression as a collective right, we value the attention the report draws to the importance of protecting journalists.

The United States raises media freedom issues in our dealings with governments at all levels.  We push for the release of imprisoned journalists and call for justice when media professionals are killed with impunity.  We also have an annual Freedom of the Press campaign that coincides with World Press Freedom Day to highlight particular cases of imprisoned journalists.  We provide direct assistance and training to journalists in challenging places, including in conflict areas, and we support independent media in closed societies around the world.


•    How has technical assistance from OHCHR and special procedures mandate holders helped to promote the safety of journalists?

•    The report underlines the role that some Special Rapporteurs have played by including attacks against journalists in their reporting.  Are there other Special Rapporteurs who should look more closely into this issue?