Qatar has called for a comprehensive and co-ordinated legal approach to provide adequate protection to journalists and bring to justice those who violate journalists’ rights.
This came in a speech delivered by the Third Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Office, Jassim al-Ma’awda before the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council, during which two reports, by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions were reviewed.
Both reports focused on the issue of impunity for violations of journalists’ human rights.
“Under the leadership of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Qatar has promoted media freedom and supported journalists’ rights all over the world”, said al-Ma’awda, referring in this regard to the Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF), which plays since its creation in 2007 an important role in enhancing freedom of expression and freedom of the press and protecting journalists through addressing the violations to which they are exposed.
Qatar has hosted numerous conferences and meetings including the Unesco World Press Freedom Day conference in 2009, the UN official explained. The Doha Declaration on the “Potential of Media: Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation”, was one of the major outcomes of the conference, he said.
Qatar also hosted the international conference to protect journalists in dangerous situations organised by the Qatari National Committee for Human Rights (QNCHR) in January, which made a number of recommendations including the appointment by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of a special rapporteur who would be responsible for protection of journalists; and establishment of a special unit to monitor violations against the media, he added.
Protecting journalists has become a major issue in light of the volatile political, economic and social environment in a number of countries and the increased attacks against journalists around the globe, said al Ma’awda, pointing to the lack of ability or willingness to bring to book those responsible for attacks on journalists.
Qatar welcomes the two reports, released by the UN Special Rapporteurs urging relevant state and non-state actors to secure journalists’ rights by implementing international human rights law and monitoring this implementation, he said.