The UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution initiated by Lithuania on the protection of journalists in conflict situations.
Linas Linkevičius at UN Security Council

The unanimously adopted document calls for ensuring the independence of the media as well as immediate release of journalists being kept hostage.

"(The Security Council) affirms that the work of a free, independent and impartial media constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society," the document reads.

More than 60 journalists were killed last year, with several dozen having lost their lives this year.

The majority of journalists have recently been killed in Syria where large territories are controlled by the Islamic State.

Chairing the meeting in New York, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said the spread of radical extremism and terrorism in Syria and Iraq as well as Russia's actions in Ukraine adds another highly dangerous dimension to the threats journalists and media workers are facing.

"Syria continues to be the deadliest place for journalists. At least some 80 journalists have been killed in Syria since the conflict there began in 2011. The second and third places in journalist deaths were shared by Iraq and Ukraine, because of the ongoing Russia-sponsored and Russia- supported war against its sovereignty," Linkevičius said.

Without mentioning specific countries, he also pointed out that danger is being posed by "deliberate disinformation and propaganda."

"Today, however, wars are fought not only by means of equipment and weaponry, but also through deliberate disinformation, propaganda, and media restrictions. As the warfare is becoming increasingly asymmetrical, and targeted propaganda is becoming just another weapon of war, there is a clear need for more comprehensive measures to ensure the independence of the media," the Lithuanian foreign minister said.

Lithuania had presented the resolution as it is holding the UN Security Council presidency in May. Under international law, this institution is the only capable of sanctioning the use armed force.

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