VIENNA, 8 May 2023 — To mark World Press Freedom Day Ciné-ONU Vienna showed the film “The Killing of a Journalist” at the arthouse cinema Topkino.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Peter Mišík, Permanent Representative of the Slovakia to the United Nations, OSCE, and other International Organizations in Vienna, reflected on the fifth anniversary of the tragic murder this year. He emphasized the importance of press freedom: "Every attack on journalists is an attack on us", and underscored that it is a duty to strengthen support for those fighting for justice and democracy. The Permanent Mission of Slovakia and UNIS Vienna jointly hosted the film screening.
The panel discussion following the screening, featured experts in the field Lukáš Diko, Journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Ján Kuciak Investigative Center in Bratislava, Slovakia, Claudia Isep, Deputy Secretary General and Strategic Planning Coordinator at the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and Frane Maroević, Executive Director at the International Press Institute. It was moderated by Public Information Officer Anne Thomas from UNIS Vienna.
Diko highlighted the crucial role of investigative journalists as the "last defenders of the state" and said that the Ján Kuciak Investigative Center is dedicated to protecting and nurturing investigative journalism. Diko recalled the aftermath of the murder, witnessing a surge of aspiring investigative journalists. Now, however, the current number is limited to only 10 to 15 in Slovakia.
Maroević echoed this sentiment and emphasized the dangers inherent in the profession. He had himself witnessed the furious public reaction after the murder leading to "fragile changes" and stressed the importance of continuous effort to maintain and strengthen these advances.
Isep spoke about UNESCO's core mandate of advocating for press freedom. Referring to a study showcasing the strong correlation between press freedom and other human rights, she highlighted the significance of this relationship for effectively implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Isep also expressed concern over the rising number of female journalists being targeted and the escalation of online violence against journalists. To address these challenges, she underlined the need for media literacy, nurturing critical thinking, and empowering individuals to discern reliable information in the media landscape.