People hold signs saying 'Impunity kills' during a 2013 memorial in Kiev for murdered Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze. The US decision to withdraw from UNESCO will make the world less safe for journalists. (AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

US withdrawal from UNESCO is blow for press freedom

By Courtney C. Radsch/CPJ Advocacy Director on October 13, 2017 1:44 PM ET

The U.S. government's decision to withdraw from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which has a mandate to promote "the free flow of ideas by word and image [and] to foster free, independent, and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online," will make the world less safe for journalists, a joint statement by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Article 19, and Reporters Without Borders, said today.

As the lead U.N. agency responsible for implementing the U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, support for UNESCO is intrinsically linked to ensuring that journalists can work without fear of reprisal. The joint statement called for the U.S. government to reverse its decision and instead commit to increasing UNESCO's effectiveness and impact.

Read the joint statement here.

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