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Human Rights

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 23 June 2022

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Questions (116, 151)

Emer Higgins

Question:

116. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the contribution of Ireland to ensuring the safety of journalists, photographers and other members of the media. [32918/22]

View answer

Richard Bruton

Question:

151. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the contribution of Ireland to ensuring the safety of journalists, photographers and other members of the media. [33213/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 151 together.

The promotion and protection of all human rights remains a key foreign policy priority for Ireland. We continue to highlight the need for protection for media workers across the world, both at the UN Security Council, and at the UN Human Rights Council, as well as through our participation in intergovernmental alliances dedicated to media freedom and the protection of journalists.

The brutal murder of journalist Veronica Guerin by organised crime networks in 1994 as well as the much more recent killings of Lyra McKee, Martin O’Hagan, Simon Cumbers and Pierre Zakrzewski remind us that we cannot afford to take press freedom for granted at home or abroad.

Last month, Ireland convened a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the protection of journalists in response to the murder of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, in Jenin on the 11 May. Ireland invited a number of prominent experts to brief Council members on the situation facing journalists including representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists; Agence France Pressee; Al Jazeera; as well as the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

The war on Ukraine has had a dramatic impact on press freedom. At least nine media workers have lost their lives since 24 February including Irish citizen and journalist, Pierre Zakrzewski along with his Ukrainian colleague and journalist, Ms Oleksandra Kuvshynova who were killed by Russian forces on 14 March. In April, Ireland contributed funding to the International Federation of Journalists which helps to provide helmets, flak jackets, secure communication tools, medical supplies and safety training to allow journalists carry out their indispensable work on the frontlines.

Ireland is a founding member of the Freedom Online Coalition and recently joined the Media Freedom Coalition. Ireland recently announced its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council 2027-2029, where we will build further on our work in support of journalists and media freedom worldwide.

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