Opening statement by Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite at the panel discussion on the safety of women journalists in conflict situations
Women journalists and media workers are an integral part of the media fabric ensuring the constant flow news from around the world. It took persistence and determination for women journalists to break down barriers and stereotypes and be able to report from conflict zones.
Dickey Chapelle, from a founding generation of female war correspondents in World War II, had a pointed response to those who argued against women journalists on the battlefield: "It's not a woman's place. There's no question about it. ….There's only one other species on Earth for whom a war zone is no place, and that's men."
UN Security Council Resolution 2222, adopted two years ago at Lithuania’s initiative, contains specific references to the "risks faced by women journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in conduct of their work, and underlining in this context the importance of considering the gender dimension of measures to address their safety in situations of armed conflict."
I am therefore happy that today we are about to address specifically the experiences of and challenges to the brave women journalists and media workers who bring us the news from conflict zones.
This discussion, held on WPFD, is the first joint public event of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Journalists, which was created a year ago at the initiative of the Permanent Missions of France, Greece and Lithuania, which act as its co-chairs.
As of today, our Group of Friends consists of 17 member states: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Sweden, Tunisia, Republic of Korea, United States and Uruguay.
While members of the Group have been meeting regularly since its creation, it is essential that we hear directly from journalists and media workers, including women journalists, about the risks they take as they report from the world’s hot spots.
Today’s discussion is exactly why our Group of Friends was created: to engage at a practical level in support of better protection of journalists and media workers, especially in conflict zones, as well as shine a light on the persisting impunity for crimes against journalists.
A gendered approach to the protection of journalists does matter. I do hope that today’s discussion will serve the purpose of devising better means to make sure that the information we use does not arrive at the expense of journalist lives.