This report recommends that signatories to the Global Pledge on Media Freedom and other key governments adopt targeted sanctions regimes that are designed and applied to protect journalists and media freedom as well as respond to other human rights abuses. Such measures would help to ensure that journalists, media professionals and others engaged in journalistic activities can carry out their work without harassment, intimidation, false imprisonment or violent attack. The report also recommends amendments to the application of existing targeted human rights sanctions regimes to achieve this purpose.
Given the scope of the Panel’s mandate, this report focuses on the elements of sanctions regimes that are most relevant from the perspective of protecting journalists and a free press. It does not seek to provide an exhaustive analysis of legal issues relevant to sanctions regimes in general. In particular, the report does not assess the substantial due process protections that must be provided to targets of sanctions regimes given the potentially severe impact of sanctions, some of which can also affect family members of individuals who are targeted as well as the broader community. The Panel, however, wishes to stress that it considers such protections to be essential to a fair sanctions regime that complies with international human rights law.
In its analysis and recommendations, the report focuses on three issues related to sanctions that are most relevant in the context of the media:
- the appropriate scope of human rights abuses that should trigger the imposition of sanctions (i.e. what should be included);
- the appropriate targets of a sanctions regime (i.e. who should be included); and
- the appropriate triggering mechanisms for a targeted human rights sanctions regime (i.e. how it should be activated).
The report recommends that laws relating to targeted sanctions for violations of international human rights norms should be drafted, interpreted and applied in a manner that is broad enough to encompass the principal ways in which media freedom is being abused. In addition, it recommends that multilateral organisations, including the EU, and the governments of key jurisdictions worldwide, including those that have become banking centres and playgrounds for potential sanctions targets, should consider adopting targeted human rights sanctions regimes.