Tackling Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists: A Dialogue with the Media Freedom Coalition

Location: Paris, France

Freedom of expression is protected in international law, because, without it, democracy and the rule of law wither away. A free and uncensored press is a vital aspect of this freedom: independent media hold governments to account, facilitate the enjoyment of other fundamental freedoms, and shed light on matters of public interest. A free, independent and pluralistic media is vital for democracy and should be supported by States as a public good.

However, every year, scores of journalists are forced to leave their countries to escape threats to their safety as a result of their work. Since 2006, more than 1,200 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public. 9 out of 10 journalist killings continue to go unpunished. In 2023, over 530 journalists languish behind bars. The situation is only worsening, despite numerous important initiatives at the international, regional, and national level to stem the tide of impunity.

On the occasion of the UN International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Media Freedom Coalition and special guests explored the questions of why so few investigations into attacks on journalists succeed, and what can be done to tackle this issue, including the High Level Panel’s recommendation to the MFC States to establish a standing International Investigative Task Force.

Opening Remarks:

  • H.E. Mr. Jan Versteeg, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to France.
  • Professor Can Yeginsu, Barrister, Deputy Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media


  • Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, Member of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, and Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.


  • Mr. Nadim Houry, Member of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, and author of the Panel’s Report Promoting More Effective Investigations into Abuses against Journalists.
  • Ambassador Katrin Kivi, Ambassador for Human Rights, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Ms. Lizzy Bans Nobre, Deputy Director, Directorate of Multilateral Institutions and Human
    Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • Mr. Antoine Bernard, Director of Advocacy and Assistance, Reporters Without Borders.
  • Further speakers to be confirmed.

Closing Remarks:

  • Lord David Neuberger, Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom.

Location: Residence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands, 85, rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France.

Date and Time: Thursday, 2 November 2023, 18:30 – 20:15 CET.


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