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“End Impunity and Ensure Protection of Journalists,” says IFJ at UNESCO World Press Freedom Day Conference

07 May 2014

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on international organisations supporting media freedom to help protect the safety and rights of media workers and bring an end to impunity for violence against journalists across the globe.

The IFJ issued its call during the high profile Safety of Journalists workshop it organised on the second day of UNESCO World Press Freedom conference held in Paris. The event highlighted the wide ranging issues concerning the safety of journalists across the globe. Unions leaders from Africa, Europe and the Middle East gave first-hand accounts of the daily experiences journalists face while doing their work.

During the event, the IFJ presented its ‘Media Under Attack’ publication which focuses on the media freedom situation in the Balkans and Former Soviet Union from 2011-2013 and highlights the issues affecting the safety rights and lives of journalists in countries across these regions.

“UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day conference is taking place at a most crucial crossroad for journalists, said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “The season is still open on journalists who continue to be targeted, gunned down, kidnapped, imprisoned and harassed in all corners of the world with tragedies on a scale which has shocked even the most hardened of frontline reporters.

“The IFJ calls on all the organisations at this WPFD event in Paris to help end the culture of impunity, not just through declarations, covenants and resolution, encouragement to member states or meaningful partnerships and awareness raising, but through effective criminalisation and independent investigations leading to the punishment of those responsible.”

Leaders of IFJ’s unions in Russia, Ukraine, Palestine and Somalia discussed the safety crisis in their countries as well as strategies and programmes that IFJ affiliates have adopted to contribute to the protection of journalists such as training in life-saving skills and multi-level advocacy in combating impunity for violence on journalists.

Earlier in the day, the IFJ President Jim Boumelha moderated a session on ‘Transition to Public Service Media in the Southern Mediterranean’. The session discussed the challenges currently being faced by public service media in the South Mediterranean region.

On the first day of the conference, the IFJ had also taken part in a plenary session on the role of media in development, as part of the debate on the governance post 2015.

For more information, please visit www.ifj.org