News groups appeal to UN Security Council on Safety of Journalists

December 19th, 2007 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, Dec.19 (ANI): The International News Safety Institute, the International Federation of Journalists and the European Broadcasting Union on Tuesday appealed to the President of the UN Security Council to help persuade states to respect “in letter and spirit” a key Security Council resolution on the safety of journalists on its first anniversary.
In an open letter, the three organisations noted that in the year since the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists in conflict more news media personnel had died trying to cover the story than ever before.
INSI counts at least 173 dead — the worst yearly death toll ever — since passage of 1738, which expressed deep concern “at the frequency of acts of violence, including deliberate attacks … against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel.”
The Security Council condemned such attacks and called on all parties to put an end to such practices and end impunity for the killers.
INSI, the IFJ and the EBU had campaigned for two years to get the resolution before the Security Council. It went through on 23 December, 2006.
The three organisations said in their letter to Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy, current President of the Security Council : “We strongly believe that the rising death toll could be arrested effectively if States where journalists are killed were to apply their existing laws vigorously whenever a journalist is murdered.”
After a two-year inquiry into journalist deaths around the world, INSI reported 1,000 fatalities between 1996 and 2006 and revealed that in fewer than two out of 10 cases of murder was anyone brought to justice.
“We appeal to you, Sir, to urge your colleagues on the Security Council to respect the letter and the spirit of Resolution 1738 so that we can begin to bring down the shocking level of casualties suffered by the news media on behalf of free societies everywhere,” the letter said.
It noted that the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines freedom of expression, will be celebrated around the world next year. “It should be remembered that journalists act on behalf of us all. They are our eyes and our ears, the means by which, in the words of Article 19 of the Declaration, we ’seek, receive and impart information and ideas’,” the letter said.
“There can be no freedom of expression where journalists are murdered for doing their job,” it stated.
The IFJ is the world’s largest organisation of journalists, representing around 500,000 members in more than 100 countries. The European Broadcasting Union is the world’s biggest association of national broadcasters, with 75 active members in 56 countries. Its member broadcasters reach an audience of 650 million weekly.
Both organisations are members of INSI, an NGO committed to the safety of journalists and other news media personnel working in dangerous conditions around the world.
Details of journalist casualties and of Resolution 1738 can be obtained from the INSI website . (ANI)

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