“The safety of journalists is quite simply essential to the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all of us, as well as to the right to development,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said during a panel discussion on the issue held in Geneva.She noted, however, that in recent years, journalists and other media workers are increasingly being targeted with violence. More than a thousand journalists have been killed since 1992 as a direct result of their profession. Also, 2012 and 2013 were among the deadliest years ever, and at least 15 have been killed since the start of this year. “In many States, the perpetrators of these attacks could virtually count on impunity,” she said.Many more journalists have faced violence, harassment and intimidation, including abduction, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, expulsion, illegal surveillance, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and sexual violence against women journalists.There has been an increased international awareness in recent years of the frequency with which journalists are attacked because of their work, and the need to ensure greater protection, the High Commissioner noted. Key UN bodies, including the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have all adopted resolutions condemning such attacks and calling on States to ensure a safe environment for journalists.In addition, in 2012, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) developed the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which is now being implemented in five pilot countries – Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Tunisia. Initiatives have also been taken by regional organizations.Above all, said Ms. Pillay, there must be an unequivocal political commitment to ensuring that journalists can carry out their work safely. Linked to this is the question of who can be considered to be a journalist.“From a human rights perspective, it is clear: all individuals are entitled to the full protection of their human rights, whether the State recognizes them as ‘journalists’ or not; whether they are professional reporters or ‘citizen journalists’; whether or not they have a degree in journalism; whether they report online or offline.”In terms of good practices, the High Commissioner cited the creation of an early warning and rapid response mechanism to give journalists and other media actors immediate access to the authorities, and to protective measures, when they are threatened. “Most importantly, States must combat impunity,” stressed Ms. Pillay. “Every act of violence committed against a journalist that goes uninvestigated, and unpunished, is an open invitation for further violence. “Ensuring accountability for attacks against journalists is a key element in preventing future attacks,” she added. “Failure to do so may be interpreted as tolerance of, or acquiescence to, violence. The investigation and prosecution of all attacks against journalists through an effective and functioning domestic criminal justice system is imperative, and there must be remedy for the victims.”Promoting the safety of journalists and combatting impunity for those who attack them are central elements within UNESCO’s support for press freedom. The Paris-based agency is committed to advancing freedom of press and safety of journalists, both offline and online, through a variety of actions, including awareness raising, promoting partnerships and coordination of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists.Addressing the panel, UNESCO Deputy Director Getachew Engida highlighted the need for real political commitment from leaders as well as adjustments in the legal system to ensure the safety of journalists.
EARLIER THIS WEEK the applications closed to be an escort at this year’s Rose of Tralee.Now you may be raging that you missed the deadline and who could blame you?We’re willing to bet that being one of the lads who gets to hang out with the various Roses over the course of the festival is great craic.In case you’ve applied and hoping to get there or just want to prepare yourself for next time we’ve come up with the key skills needed to be a Rose of Tralee escort.1. Don’t be starstruckLook lads, you’ll be in the presence of big names, Dáithí Ó Sé is this year’s host and everyone from Gay Byrne to Ray D’arcy have presented it.You’ll have to act cool around Dáithí and any other celebs you might have to encounter, like the year the escorts had to pose with rugby hero Ronan O’Gara:Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland2. You’ll have to go to BootcampThis is supposed to be a “humourous” segment from last year’s show where the lads train and bond and things, but we bet there’s plenty of cut footage where they were all tired, emotional and crying for their mammies (apparently the bootcamp is a regular bonding exercise for escorts the last few years)Hard work being an escort, we’re telling you.BC Limerick / YouTube3. You’ll need to be “a man”According to this ad for escorts at least.That will involve taking your top off, running around in the water, dancing in the streets of Tralee and trying to not laugh at the hilarious music on this advert:Rose of Tralee / YouTube4. Hip-Hop MovesWe still haven’t recovered from the power of the the 2011 Dublin Rose knocking out some hip-hop moves.Such grace, such energy:RTE / YouTubeWe think it’s about time one of the escorts broke out some hip-hop moves. If you’ve got serious dance chops then we say apply to be an escort and then blag your way onto the stage in the middle of the show.The world is watching. Well, Ireland at least.5. You’ll need to know all the words to this:Marino Van Wakeren / YouTubeWe have found a “dance remix” of it if you’re looking to blare this while you’re at the gym or something:Rob Bais / YouTube6. You’ll have to be open mindedAnd just go with it when a Rose decides to rope you into some questionable pictures:Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive/Press Association ImagesOr leaves you looking like this:Cathal McNaughton/PA Archive/Press Association Images7. Make sure you can pull off a tuxedoYou don’t want to end up looking like a dummy!!Eamonn Farrell/Photocall IrelandGeddit, a DUMMY?Eamonn Farrell/Photocall IrelandOh you’re all just dummies, we give upEamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland15 of the best things about living in a housing estate>Pics & video: 6 bizarre moments from last night’s Rose of Tralee> read more