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Special Session on Central African Republic

Published On Tuesday 21 January 2014. Updated On Wednesday 22 January 2014

At a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday on the situation in Central African Republic, Reporters Without Borders spoke about its impact on media personnel, who have been the victims of threats, physical attacks and ransacking of their offices by ex-Seleka soldiers, members of the transitional government and anti-Balakas.

The situation has deteriorated further since December, paralyzing all the media, local and international. For fear of reprisals, they are continuing to censor themselves.

Journalists nonetheless have a major if not essential role to play in the current transition process because it is their job to provide information and sustain a dialogue.

In its address to the Council, Reporters Without Borders recommended that the resolution adopted at the end of the special session should stress “the need to protect journalists in their work of investigating, gathering and imparting information, especially because of their role in the democratic process of national reconciliation.”

The resolution, A/RES/68/163, that the UN General Assembly adopted on 26 November, condemning all attacks and acts of violence against journalists and media workers, stressed the importance of the role that all news providers play and the attention that the United Nations should pay to their safety.

In the resolution adopted by consensus yesterday, the Council appointed Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum as independent human rights expert in CAR with the task of helping the transitional authorities to improve respect for human rights and reporting back to the Council on developments in the situation.

Reporters Without Borders will do everything possible to assist the independent expert’s work and urges her to take account of matters relating to the right to information and the safety of journalists.

ENDS

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