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Protecting freedom of expression and the rights of journalists

Graphic: Journalist with microphone interviewing on street

APF members took part in a peer-to-peer workshop aimed at supporting NHRIs to protect freedom of expression and journalists' rights.

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The workshop, held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 9-12 November 2022, was hosted by International Media Support (IMS), a non-profit organisation working to strengthen the capacity of media to reduce conflict, strengthen democracy and facilitate dialogue.

Representatives from the NHRIs of Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Indonesia, and from the APF secretariat, took part in the workshop to share their experiences and comment on the anchoring of safety mechanisms for journalists and human rights defenders (HRDs).

In 2012, IMS began working with the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal (NHRC) to examine the idea of establishing a mechanism to promote journalist safety anchored by an NHRI. In 2019, the NHRC adopted a directive to enable it to set up such a mechanism. 

Similar efforts began in Pakistan in 2013, when the country was selected as a pilot for launching the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. In 2021, two bills were passed in Pakistan to improve the safety of media professionals. 

Similarly, since 2015 through the implementation of the Philippine Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists, there have been efforts towards establishing a safety mechanism led by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines. And in Indonesia, journalists and civil society groups have begun consultations on developing a safety mechanism for media workers. 

The workshop also aimed to strengthen the ability of NHRIs to monitor and report on violations against journalists and HRDs, and included a session focused on the rights and experiences of women journalists and the role of NHRIs in ensuring a gender-sensitive approach to protecting freedom of expression. 

Other participants at the workshop included representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Danish Institute for Human Rights, as well as civil society representatives from across the region. 

Date: 2 February 2023

Image credits

  1. Journalist with microphone interviewing on street - Vietnam Stock Images on Shutterstock