Safety of Journalists > Blog > ​11th Issue of IFJ Focus on Safety

​11th Issue of IFJ Focus on Safety

13 October 2015

Welcome to 11th issue of the IFJ Focus on Safety, a monthly blog which provides highlights, news and in-depth analysis of safety-related events of concerns to journalists.

The blog is part of the IFJ strategy to promote the safety of journalists and to combat the issue of impunity.

Please check out the IFJ International Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism at the end of this issue.

We value your feedback and would like to hear about your safety experience in the field as well as any safety-related stories you would like to share with members of the IFJ family, the global journalists’ community.

The issue covers the following safety-related events and activities which took place in September 2015:

Israel Army Removes from Duty Officer over Attack on AFP Reporters in Nablus

The Israeli Military removed from duty the officer in charge of soldiers who attacked two AFP journalists on 25 September while they were covering clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in Beit Firuk, near Nablus. The video of the attack which was filmed by activists showed soldiers violently assaulting Italian cameraman Andrea Bernardi and his Palestinian colleague photographer Abbas Momani.

The soldiers, clearly unhappy about journalists’ witnessing the heavy handed repression of the protest, set upon them, hurling them to the ground and breaking their video and still cameras and confiscating other equipment. The attack caused outrage among journalists and their organisations, including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) and (SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT Journalistes), respectively IFJ affiliates in Palestine, Italy and France

Read more here

IFJ welcomes UN Independent Expert’s report over press freedom’s violations in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Somali affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), welcomed the report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Mr. Bahame Nyanduga, presented on 30 September to the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

In a statement to the Council, the two organisations said that they shared the concerns raised in the report over endless attacks on journalists and violations of press freedom in the country.

Read more here

FAJ Stands Up to Coup Leaders to Protect Journalists in Burkina Faso

The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) warned the leaders of the short-lived coup in Burkina Faso over their safety of journalists in the country, including delegates from IFJ's affiliates who had travelled to Ouagadougou for ‘the ‘Festival international de la liberté de presse (FILEP). FAJ reaction followed incidents of intimidation by the pro-coup soldiers against many journalists.

Read more here

Media House under Attack as Taliban Seize Kunduz

Offices of Roshani radio and TV , an independent media network , were severely damaged and most of their equipment destroyed when Taliban militants launched an attack and took control of the central city of Kunduz, after the Afghan forces retreated. The radio mostly covered women

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Philippine Arrest Masterminds of Journalists’ Murder in 2011

Two former politicians were arrested in the Philippines in relation to the murder of journalist Gerry Ortega on Sunday September 20 in Phuket, Thailand. The news were welcomed by the International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), who urge the authorities to ensure that justice be done for Ortega.

Read more here

Taliban Issue Threats to Media in Pakistani over War Coverage

The media section of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Mohmand agency faction (TTP) threatened Pakistani media over their coverage of ongoing military operation in North Waziristan state, in Pakistan’s tribal region. In an email to ‘the heads and members of the organizations working for the rights of media around the world’, the TTP accused Pakistani media of baseless news and propaganda against the Taliban and threatened attacks against the media.

The email said: “This message is aimed at making you aware that if we get engaged in attacking them then no crying and sobbing will be heard and we think accomplishing our legitimate and decent mission without attending to criticism of any criticizer is our appropriate right.”

Read more here

Ukraine Bans 38 European Journalists and Bloggers

At least 38 international journalists and bloggers were banned from Ukraine for one year, following a decree signed by President Petroand published on the presidential website. They were among 388 people listed on the list as allegedly “representing an actual or potential threat to national interests, national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Six Western journalists were later removed from the ban list, including BBC correspondents.

Read more here

Journalist Sexually Harassed in the Philippines

Janess Ann Ellao, a Bulatlat.com reporter, was victim of sexual harassment while covering the trial of Staff Sargent Edgardo Osorio and retired General Jovito Palparan Jnr. Osorio, over the enforced disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan. Ellao said that Osorio’s lawyer, Bonifacio Alentajan, behaved inappropriately towards her and was later heard calling her a ‘leftist’. Labeling journalists as leftist is dangerous in the Philippines, exposing them to targeting by state security forces and the paramilitaries they control.

Read more here

Ex-MP Threatens to Kill Journalists Live on Radio in Nepal

Ex-parliamentarian and central committee member of political party Madhesh Samajbadi Forum, Baban Singh threatened to burn journalists during a live interviewed on Kohinoor FM. The targets of this threat were Shiva Puri of the Kantipur daily, Madan Thakur of the Nagarik daily and Gautam Shrestha of Avenues Television for their news reports on his party’s demonstrations in Rautahat district, in central Nepal.

Read more here

Nepal Sees Rise of Violence against Journalists amid Political Unrest

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliates the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and the Nepal Press Union (NPU) in expressing concern over the escalating violence against media and journalists in ongoing political unrest in Nepal. The IFJ calls on the state’s security forces and protesting groups to end the attacks on media workers and journalist who are simply doing their job covering the political unrest.

Read more here

IFJ and EFJ Support Press Freedom and Labour Rights in Turkey

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) jointly hosted a two-day international conference in Istanbul.

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Call for End to Impunity at 15th Commemoration of Gongadze’s Murder in Ukraine

On 16 September 2000, Georgy Gongadze’s body was left beheaded in the forest outside Kiev. The killing, believed to have been a reprisal for the journalist’s exposures of government corruption, sparked worldwide condemnation and a global campaign for the prosecution of his killers. After years of investigations, four former officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) were eventually convicted of murder, but the mastermind remains free.

Journalists ‘ organisations in Ukraine, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) both affiliates of the IFJ and EFJ, marked the 15th commemoration of his murder by calling on the government to conduct proper investigations into the crimes against journalists.

Read more here

Council of Europe Reviews Category of Journalists’ Rights Violations for Online Platform

Following consultations with its partner organisations, including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Council of Europe has reviewed the categories of violations of journalists’ rights and freedoms which can be submitted to its online platform for the promotion of journalism and the safety of journalists:

A.Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists

Killings; abductions; threats and acts of violence against the physical integrity of journalists, their family members and other media actors or against their office or homes; attacks against journalists’ sources because of their co-operation with journalists or media.

B.Detention and imprisonment of journalists

Arbitrary, unwarranted or politically-motivated arrests, detention and imprisonment of journalists and other media actors;.

C.Harassment and intimidation of journalists

-Alleged harassment of journalists and other media institutions or actors; violence or interference causing damage or destruction of journalists’ equipment or other property; punitive or vindictive exercise of investigatory tax or administrative powers; arbitrary denial of access for journalistic coverage; threats to journalists’ privacy, threats to employment status, psychological abuse, bullying, online harassment and cyber-bullying

-Judicial intimidation: opportunistic, arbitrary or vexatious use of legislation, including defamation, anti-terrorism, national security, hooliganism or anti-extremism laws; issuing bogus or fabricated charges

-Political intimidation, including hate speech and use by public figures of abusive or demeaning language against journalists or media outlets

-Other forms of intimidation and harassment

D.Impunity

Failures to promptly, independently and effectively investigate and seek to prosecute crimes and offences against journalists and other media institutions or actors

E.Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom

Acts having chilling effects on media freedom including restrictive legislation encroaching on media freedom, censorship, interference with editorial freedom, threats to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, unjustified or indiscriminate blocking of websites or social media platforms, hacking, and surveillance or interception of communications data of journalists without due process of authorisation.

IFJ International Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism

The dangers to journalists and media staff working in dangerous situations and conflict zones are the subject of extensive record. The IFJ has recorded the deaths of more than 1000 journalists and media staff over the past ten years.

Many journalists are killed, injured or harassed in war zones, either targeted by one side or another or caught in the crossfire of violence. Others are victims of premeditated assault and intimidation either by criminals, terrorists or by agencies of the state — the police, the military or the security forces — acting secretly and illegally.

Very often there is little that journalists or media organisations can do to avoid casualties. There will, inevitably, be accidents, no matter how much care is taken to provide protection and there is little one can do when those targeting media use ruthless and brutal methods to crush journalistic inquiry.

However, there are steps that journalists and media organisations should take to minimise the risks to staff. In particular, the following are vital considerations in providing protection:

Adequate preparation, training and social protection. It is essential that journalists and media staff be in a state of readiness when difficulties arise. There should be a framework for providing individuals with health care and social protection.

Media professionals must be informed and inform themselves about the political, physical, and social terrain in which they are working. They must not contribute to the uncertainty and insecurity of their conditions through ignorance or reckless behaviour.

Mediaorganisationsmust guard against risk-taking for competitive advantage, and should promote co-operation among journalists whenever conditions exist which are potentially hazardous.

Governments must remove obstacles to journalism. They must not restrict unnecessarily the freedom of movement of journalists or compromise the right of news media to gather, produce and disseminate information in secure and safe conditions.

People Must Keep Their Hands Off Media. Everyone should respect the physical integrity of journalists and media staff at work. Physical interference with filming or other journalistic work must be prohibited.

With these considerations in mind, the IFJ calls on journalists groups, mediaorganisationsand all relevant public authorities to respect the following International Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism:

1. Journalists and other media staff shall be properly equipped for all assignments including through the provision of first-aid materials, communication tools, adequate transport facilities and, where necessary, protective clothing;

2. Media organisations and, where appropriate, state authorities shall provide risk awareness training for those journalists and media workers who are likely to be involved in assignments where dangerous conditions prevail or may be reasonably expected;

3. Public authorities shall inform their personnel of the need to respect the rights of journalists and shall instruct them to respect the physical integrity of journalists and media staff while at work;

4. Media organisations shall provide social protection for all staff engaged in journalistic activity outside the normal place of work, including life insurance;

5. Media organisations shall provide, free of charge, medical treatment and health care, including costs of recuperation and convalescence, for journalists and media workers who are the victims of injury or illness as a result of their work outside the normal place of work;

6. Media organisations shall protect freelance or part-time employees. They must receive, on an equal basis, the same social protection and access to training and equipment as that made available to fully employed staff.