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AEJ Resolution on the safety of journalists and the dangers of impunity

The annual General Assembly of the European Association Journalists (AEJ) meeting in Burgenland, Austria, condemns as unacceptable the high number of violent attacks against journalists, acts of arbitrary harassment and interference, and other attacks against media freedom and freedom of expression in European countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkey and Russia.

The members of the Association call on all States to fulfil the solemn commitments to create a safe and enabling environment for journalists which they made in the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Safety of Journalists that was adopted unopposed in December 2013; we welcome the declaration in that Resolution of 2 Novemberas International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and call for urgent actions by state authorities, professional bodies and civil society groups to eradicate impunity, in line with the special events being organised by the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other Inter-Governmental Organisations.

We remind the governments of Europe, in particular, of their obligation to take the necessary measures to protect journalists from all forms of attacks and threats and to ensure that crimes against journalists are swiftly and effectively investigated and prosecuted and that the perpetrators are brought to justice -- in accordance with their duties under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and their commitments as participating states in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The AEJ denounce the use of violence against journalists and all attempts to silence critical or differing voices, and remind journalists and other media practitioners of the importance of investigating, reporting and exposing abuses of power, coercion and intimidation aimed at silencing critical and independent voices.

AEJ members urge determined actions to stop political and other forms of interference in editorial content; impunity which creates a climate of fear and self-censorship; oppressive media laws and misuses of administrative powers and fines; abuse of laws related to defamation, blasphemy and libel; and actions by state authorities and concerned citizens to eradicate persistent failures to find and punish crimes against media workers (impunity).

The Congress addresses this Resolution to the leaders and the member States of the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.