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UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity

OHCHR and the safety of journalists

About the UN Plan of Action

The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity is the result of a process that began in 2010 upon request of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). It was endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board on 12 April 2012, and has been welcomed in resolutions of the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and UNESCO.

The UN Plan of Action aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide. The Plan includes measures such as the establishment of an inter-agency mechanism to strengthen the contribution of each UN actor and enhance UN-wide coherence; cooperation with States to develop legislation and other mechanisms for safeguarding the freedom of expression and information as well as the safety of journalists; and the establishment of partnerships, awareness-raising and fostering initiatives.

Download a PDF file of the UN Plan of Action in 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español (PDF)

Implementing and strengthening the plan

After a first review of the implementation of the UN Plan in Strasbourg in November 2014, OHCHR and UNESCO organized on 29 June 2017 a multi-stakeholder consultation to review ways of strengthening the UN Plan, bringing together about 250 representatives of UN agencies, Member States, regional intergovernmental organizations, civil society, media, internet intermediaries and academia.

Prior to the Consultation, a report was prepared on the basis of responses to a UNESCO questionnaire that examined the roles of all stakeholders, their key achievements and challenges, and called for suggestions for ways forward. A draft outcome document that contained recommendations for strengthening the UN Plan was also provided in advance of the Consultation and comments on those recommendations were incorporated into a second version that was sent to all participants following the Consultation for further feedback. The final Outcome Document contains options for all actors engaged in the area of the safety of journalists in order to assist them to strengthen their contribution to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action, to secure the safety of journalists and end impunity for the human rights violations committed against them.

On the tenth anniversary of the UN Plan of Action, the Government of the Republic of Austria organized, on 4 November 2022, a global conference to reflect on achievements, identify new challenges and renew Member States’ support of the implementation of the Plan of Action. OHCHR and UNESCO were involved in the preparation of this conference. UNESCO, in particular, organized regional and thematic consultations, the outcomes of which were summarized in a report. The final report of the conference is being finalized.