A draft action plan to improve safety of journalists and combat crimes against them has been prepared by representatives of United Nations agencies in Paris, an official statement said on Tuesday.
According to press release of the information and broadcasting ministry, the draft plan includes establishing coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues connected to the safety of journalists.
The draft plan calls for extension of work already being done by UNESCO to prevent crimes against media workers. It talks of assistance to countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favourable to freedom of expression and supporting their efforts to implement existing international rules.
The press release said awareness campaigns will also be conducted with member states and civil society organisations about issues of freedom of expression and safety of journalists.
The release said more than 500 journalists had been killed in the course of their duties over the past decade and many more had been assaulted, abducted, sexually violated, intimidated, harassed, arrested or illegally detained.
The vast majority of these crimes did not concern international war correspondents but journalists working in their home countries, often in times of peace, and covering local stories. The instigators of crimes had, for the most part, remained unpunished, the release added.
The draft action plan was prepared at a meeting held September 13-14 under chairmanship of Raghu Menon, secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting, and chairperson of the Impunity to Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
UNESCO director general Irina Bokova, UN under secretary general for communications and public information Kiyo Akasaka, UN special report on promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank la Rue attended the two-day meeting.