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​12th IFJ focus on Safety

04 December 2015

Welcome to the 12th 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 November 2015:

IFJ 2015 Campaign against Impunity for Crime Targeting Journalists

The IFJ marked the second UN Day against Impunity for Crime targeting journalists on 2 November 2015. The date kicked off a three week long campaign highlighting the issue of impunity which continues to fuel violence in journalism across the globe. In addition to activities carried out by the IFJ Secretariat in Brussels, many IFJ affiliates joined the campaign by organising events in their own countries. For details on the campaign, click here .

African Union and European Union Agree to Jointly Mark UN Day v. Impunity for Crime against Journalists in 2016

The African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) held this year's AU - EU Human Rights Dialogue on 24 November in Kigali, Rwanda. They adopted a series of recommendations which were submitted by the joint African Union and European Union Civil Society Seminar which was also held in Kigali on 21-22 November under the theme of Freedom of Expression.

The IFJ, which was represented at the Seminar, submitted a recommendation concerning the protection of journalists and the need to fight impunity for crime targeting them. The AU- EU Dialogue adopted the recommendation and agreed to jointly mark the 2016 UN Day v. impunity for crime targeting journalists, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2013.

Read more here

IFJ Moderates Panel on Successful Cases in Ending Impunity at International Conference on Impunity for Crime against Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was invited to attend an international conference on ending impunity for crime against journalists held on 9-10 October 2015 at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica. The conference, organised by UNESCO, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights with the support of 20 international partner institutions, including the IFJ, brought together judges, prosecutors, lawyers, NGOs, experts, journalists, governmental authorities and representatives of multilateral organizations from all continents to exchange on the fight against impunity for violence in journalism. The IFJ moderated a high level panel on successful cases in ending impunity, on which Spanish judge Balthazaz Garzon was a speaker.

Read more here

IFJ Participates in Training of Burundi Journalists in Covering Armed Conflict

A group of 30 Burundian journalists, both exiled and from inside the country, attended a four-day training in covering armed conflict on 23 – 26 November in Kigali, Rwanda. The training, organised by the IFJ affiliate -Union des journalistes burundais (UJB) - with the support of the International Federation of Journalists and the Norwegian Union of Journalists, covered protection of journalists under International humanitarian law, the practical aspects of security for covering armed conflict as well as ethics and principles of professional journalism.

IFJ Launches Solidarity Fund for Yemeni Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has launched a Solidarity Fund to provide financial aid and humanitarian assistance to Yemeni colleagues and their families, who are in desperate need for help.

The decision follows the action plan agreed at a meeting on "International Partnership for Yemen- Supporting Journalism and Freedom of Expression on the Front Lines" hosted and co-organised by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and the International Media Support (IMS) on 26 October in Brussels. Read more here

Trailer of the IFJ 25th Report on Journalists and Media Staff Killed in Line of Duty

The International Federation of Journalists will publish early January 2016 a special edition of its annual report on journalists and media staff killed in work-related circumstances. The publication will mark 25 years since the IFJ began publishing these annual reports, providing a unique track of the crisis in media safety and the contribution the Federation into making journalism safer. Please watch the publication’s video trailer here

Journalists’ Safety Guide on Body Armor

Safeguard ARMOR, a UK-based body armor manufacturer, has published Journalists’ Safety Guide on the use of flak jacket with a view toeducating any reporters who may be working in or travelling to hostile environments such as like active warzones. The Guide provides reporters with up-to-date statistics and information, as well as the donation of some body armour products, in order to keep them safe and aware.

Read more here

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.