‘It’s important for these journalists to not be dead’ - an insightful quote from the UK delegate began discussion yesterday on the HRC’s second topic Freedom of Press and Safety of Journalists.
Press was informed yesterday that an ‘unbalanced divide’ has emerged in the HRC. Tensions were palpable as France stated that they doubted that they could find common ground with countries such as Saudi Arabia, who they referred to as ‘terrorist defenders’. It is evident from debate there are two very different stances, one supporting a wide freedom in the media, the US delegate quoting George Orwell:
‘Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.’
While in contrast to this, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco and others underlined the importance of sovereignty and the need to prevent criticism of state institutions. China took a strong stance declaring that ‘everything is in order in our country, we don’t need any drastic liberal measures to improve upon what is clearly effective’.
However, in the true spirit of UN negotiations, the delegates have found a way to come together to write a moderate, but nevertheless unified working paper. The delegates are hard at work this morning, slaving away for the good of journalists everywhere, aiming to push this working paper before time runs out. As the fate of journalists rests in the hands of these crusaders of human rights, we await with high anticipation to see if they can pass the resolution in time. The need to protect journalists is incredibly important as UK announced journalists ‘are humans after all’.