SHAFAQNA- Clampdowns on the media have increased sharply in 2020, the UN cultural agency said, highlighting 21 protests around the world this year in which state security forces have violated journalists’ rights.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural agency (UNESCO) said that between January and June this year, journalists have been increasingly attacked, arrested and even killed.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay underscored that the freedom to inform citizens on the causes of unrest and the response from State authorities, are of vital importance for democracies to thrive, news.un.org reported.
“Journalists have a critical role in reporting and informing audiences on protest movements”, she said.
UNESCO’s findings reveal a “wider upward trend” in the use of unlawful force by police and security forces over the last five years, with more than 30 protests impeded by police and security forces last year alone – double the 2015 number.
The report finds that during this period, global protests have been rooted in concerns over economic injustice, government corruption, declining political freedoms and growing authoritarianism.
It details a wide range of abuses journalists face when covering protests, from harassment, intimidation and beatings, to being shot at with lethal or non-lethal ammunition, detention and abduction.