Amb Prosor to UNSC on protection of journalists
Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
Journalism is the public loudspeaker for the brave men
and women who have taken to the streets demanding to be heard. Yet in
much of the Middle East, their voices and their stories are being
Amb Ron Prosor addresses UN Security Council
Copyright: UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz
Thank you, Madam President, for convening this debate and bringing awareness and attention to this important subject.
far this year, 26 journalists have been killed and 175 have been
imprisoned for trying to do their job. Instead of telling the story,
journalists are increasingly becoming the story. We must be united in
our condemnation of those who seek to silence the press and hide the
As we speak, the Middle East is in
flames. From the Straits of Gibraltar to the Straits of Hormuz, people
are crying out for democratic reforms and freedoms.
of the so-called Arab Spring has fallen away. In its place, there
remains the repression, chaos and confusion that have long defined the
region. Attacks on the media are increasing all over the world, but
nowhere is it more dangerous to be a journalist than in the Middle East.
Every day people all over the globe
turn on televisions, open newspapers and browse the Internet to follow
events unfolding in the Middle East. This information comes to us from
the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to document the
bloody insurgencies and revolutions erupting throughout the region.
only do journalists have to contend with censorship, intimidation and
abduction, they are now becoming the deliberate targets of violence.
From Baghdad to Damascus and from Tehran to Khartoum, journalists are
being beaten, raped, tortured and killed.
is the public loudspeaker for the brave men and women who have taken to
the streets demanding to be heard. Yet in much of the Middle East,
their voices and their stories are being stifled.
restricting these voices, the Arab states are restricting their ability
to develop their societies and improve the lives of their citizens. The
scrutiny that goes hand-in-hand with an independent media is essential
to holding government accountable to its citizens. Every voice must
have the chance to be heard – especially the voices of dissent and
marginalized members of society.
Israel, freedom of the press is woven into the very fabric of our
democratic society. We have no shortage of media outlets that report on
every facet of society and very often, demand better of our government
and our leaders.
Our commitment to the free exchange of ideas has
made Israel a destination of choice for many reporters. Journalists in
Israel don’t have to fear the arbitrary arrests, imprisonments and
executions common in the totalitarian states that make up the rest of
The very liberties that Israel provides are both a
blessing and a curse. While we are immensely proud of our democratic
institutions, they often result in the burden of condemnation falling on
After all, foreign journalists would much sooner face
news cameras in Tel Aviv than bullets in Damascus or torture in Tehran.
Some reporters choose to focus their scrutiny on the Middle East’s only
real democracy. Rather than risking their safety, these journalists
flock to Israel knowing there will be few repercussions and quite
possibly a Pulitzer Prize for their efforts.
Despite all the
challenges that go hand-in-hand with an independent media, there is no
doubt in my mind that the benefits outweigh the costs. As Thomas
Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press. It
cannot be limited without being lost.”
Freedom, democracy and
tolerance are a heavy burden – and Israel is proud to carry them. With
more reporters and human-rights activists per capita than anywhere else
on the planet, Israel understands that a society cannot truly be free
until its citizens have the right to ask questions, challenge the status
quo, and openly speak their minds.
with all its drawbacks is worth far more than any dehumanizing and
destructive dictatorship. Attacks against journalists are not simply
attacks on individuals; they are attacks on freedom - on freedom of
speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Those who try to
silence journalists are in fact trying to silence the voices of
millions of people whose stories deserve to be told.
Thank you, Madam President.