Unesco: 759 journalists attacked during elections | Inquirer News

Unesco: 759 journalists attacked during elections

/ 05:52 AM November 03, 2023

Voting for barangay leaders ‘most important’


At least 759 journalists and media workers were attacked during election periods across 70 countries in the world from January 2019 to June 2022, based on a recent report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

Based on the findings, 320 journalists, or 42 percent, were attacked by law enforcement agents (LEAs) during election periods and 29 percent of the attacked journalists, or 218, were women.


The release of the Unesco report, titled “The Role of Law Enforcement Agents: Ensuring Safety of Journalists During Public Demonstrations and Elections,” coincided with the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists commemorated on Thursday.


The report indicated that at least 338 media workers were physically assaulted, ranging from beating to abductions, torture and murder.

Meanwhile, at least 123 media workers were obstructed in their work, ranging from the arbitrary denial of access to the destruction of equipment and footage to raids, criminal charges, and deportation.

‘Caught in the middle’

During the electioneering period, Unesco underscored that journalists are often caught in the middle of competing interests, making them targets of threats and physical attacks by political activists.

The report pointed out that LEAs often perceive the media as hostile, or they believe that the media treat LEAs unfairly, “resulting in strained or difficult relationships from the outset.”

“In recent years, journalists’ independence, safety and credibility have also been undermined where statements by political leaders and public bodies have contributed to an environment of hostility against the press,” the report said.

The UN agency stressed that LEAs should maintain a neutral approach during the election period and avoid being involved in different political interests. “Politicians and governing parties change, but the LEAs remain. The public [needs] to have confidence in the LEA and their independence,” Unesco said.


During the panel discussion organized by the Press Freedom Monitoring in Southeast Asia coalition on Thursday, John Reiner Antiquerra of the Asian Network for Free Elections said threats and attacks against media workers are heightened during elections in highly politicized environments.

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TAGS: journalists, killed, Philippines, Unesco

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