With only 6.7 per cent of journalists' murders leading to convictions, an arm of the United Nations agency mandated to protect freedom of the press is calling on Governments to report on investigations into attacks on media personnel, which have surged in recent years.
The Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) will request UN Member States to assume responsibility for monitoring investigations into all killings condemned by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
As a result of its meeting in Paris from 26 to 28 March, the IPDC, which was created by UNESCO in 1980 to promote free expression in developing countries, also decided to ask all States to inform UNESCO of actions taken in each case, and of the status of judicial inquires.
Over the past two years, the Director-General of UNESCO has publicly condemned the killings of 121 journalists - 68 in 2006 and 53 in 2007.
The decision adopted by all 39 IPDC Council members requests the Director-General of UNESCO to provide updated information on the responses received from Member States in which assassinations of journalists have occurred, and to make this report widely available.
In its 28 years of operation, the IPDC has raised some $ 93 million dollars for more than 1,100 projects in 139 developing countries and countries in transition, UNESCO said.