On Wednesday July 17th, 2013, the Security Council held an open debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict with a focus on the protection of journalists under the presidency of the United States. Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson's briefing was followed by statements of four prominent journalists: Richard Engel (NBC), Kathleen Carroll (Associated Press/Committee to Protect Journalists), Mustafa Haji Abdinur (AFP) and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (The Guardian). Multiple Member States, in addition to the European Union, addressed the Council. Several Member States made gender references in addition to the briefings of Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and journalist Kathleen Carroll.
A few statements included gender references to issues such as sexual violence and harassment targeted against female journalists and the need for a gender sensitive approach when addressing the distinct experiences of women journalists in armed conflict.Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson expressed that women journalists face grave threats of rape and sexual violence. Several delegates, including the Republic of Korea, the United States, Argentina, and France, also referenced sexual violence perpetrated against women journalists during armed conflict.Not one statement made direct reference to resolutions on women, peace and security: Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, or 2106. It must be remembered that sexual violence as experienced by journalists in armed conflict is not mutually exclusive from sexual violence as articulated in resolutions on women, peace and security.
The Security Council addressed the need to hold persistent perpetrators of human rights violations against journalists in situations of armed conflict accountable and underlined the importance of implementing concrete action plans to prevent abuses. Additional topics articulated during the debate on the protection of journalists included the inextricable link between journalists and civilians, the relationship between freedom of expression and democracy, and the particular need for protection of local journalists reporting about domestic corruption and crime. Furthermore, the debate consisted of statements that addressed the role of new media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in activism and journalism at large—more specifically, how this complicates the definition of who is a journalist.
Member States who spoke at the debate included representatives of: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, Guatemala, India, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.
UN and Civil Society representatives at the debate included: Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson and journalists: Richard Engel (NBC), Kathleen Carroll (Associated Press/Committee to Protect Journalists), Mustafa Haji Abdinur (AFP) and Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (The Guardian). The representative of the European Union delegation also delivered a statement.