Latvia backs journalism safety

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Latvia was among the official backers of a 5 February conference about journalism organized in Paris by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Along with Austria, Australia, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, the Open Society Foundations and the Al Jazeera Network, the conference also received financial support from Latvia, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said in a release.

"Discussions addressed how to better ensure the safety of journalists and reduce the number of crimes committed against journalists. A special focus was placed on the issue of impunity in light of statistics showing that nine out of ten crimes against journalists go unpunished," the ministry said.  

Taking part in the event is the Chairperson of the Board of the Latvian Journalists’ Association, Sanita Jemberga, serving as Latvia’s representative at the Intergovernmental Council of the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

"Latvian journalists are part of that international journalism community, but we are in lucky situation that the intimidation comes just from private individuals, uninformed police institutions and alike, but we are not a war zone or place where people are persecuted for airing different views. So we have to protect what we have, but also support the others who are less fortunate," Jemberga told LSM from the conference. 

Australian-Latvian journalist Pēteris Greste, who spent more than a year behind bars in Egypt on trumped-up charges, was also due to speak at one of the round table sessions.

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