United Nations, July 18 (IANS) Stressing that protection of journalists in all situations is the foremost responsibility of every state, India has urged the international community to further augment responsive mechanisms to deal with these issues.
Journalists play a crucial role in ensuring that citizens exercise the constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, personal liberty, freedom of speech and expression in reality, India's Permanent UN Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said Wednesday.
"As the world's most populous democracy, India is committed to the protection of these rights for all its citizens, including journalists," he said during a Security Council debate on protection of journalists in conflict situations.
India's ingrained awareness of these rights is an integral part of its participation in the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations, where India has been the largest contributor, Mukerji said.
"Indian UN peacekeepers have helped restore peace and security in conflict situations around the globe and thereby facilitated the creation of a conducive environment for the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression," he said.
The national governments, the Indian envoy said, must come together and pledge to provide protection to journalists in conflict situations, especially where their whereabouts and coordinates have been provided in advance.
"The protection that these journalists have received from responsive mechanisms, established by states under the rule of law, demonstrates the need to support the further development of such mechanisms," Mukerji said.
The Indian envoy urged the Council and of the international community to direct their efforts "at assisting national authorities in augmenting such mechanisms, and in generating greater awareness of these issues."
"This is the most sustainable method for sovereign governments to discharge their responsibility to protect journalists in conflict situations," he said.