UN: Resolution on the safety of Journalists

Gianna Iacino

On 29 September 2016, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations has adopted unanimously a new 20-points Resolution on the safety of Journalists calling upon States not to interfere with the right to confidentiality of sources by interfering with encryption technology.

The Resolution condemns all attacks on Journalists and media workers, online and offline, especially sexual and gender based discrimination, violence, intimidation and harassment, and the prevailing impunity for such attacks. The Resolution urges States to do their utmost to prevent such attacks and to develop and implement strategies for combatting their impunity, including the review and amendment of their legal frameworks where necessary.

It further calls upon States to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for journalists to do their work independently and without undue interference. Special attention should be given to the safety of journalists during elections and demonstrations. States should release immediate and unconditional all journalists and media workers who have been arbitrarily arrested or detained, or taken hostage.

The Resolution emphasizes the importance of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. In the digital age, encryption and anonymity tools have become vital for journalists to protect the confidentiality of their sources. Therefore, states should not interfere with the use of such technologies.

The Human Rights Council requests the High Commissioner to submit a report with an overview of available mechanisms concerned with ensuring the safety of journalists at its thirty-ninth session.

Gianna Iacino, LL.M., works at the Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels.


The Resolution on the safety of Journalists of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council is available in English language.

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Source information: This article was originally published by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom –