Safety of Journalists > Blog > ​Fourth Issue of IFJ Focus on Safety

​Fourth Issue of IFJ Focus on Safety

03 March 2015

Welcome to the fourth 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 on the field as well as any stories you would like to share with members of the IFJ family, the global journalists’ community.

The present issue covers the following:

IFJ Releases Full Report on Journalists and Media Staff Killed in 2014: The report provides narratives on 135 cases of killed journalists as well as regional overviews on the most pressing issues concerning the safety of journalist and IFJ initiatives to promote greater media protection. Please read the full report here

Four Journalists killed in February: The IFJ has recorded killings of Luis Antonio Peralta in Colombia, Maurio Lim in the Philippines, Kenji Goto in Syria and Sergii Nikolaiev in Ukraine.

There is credible evidence in these cases suggesting a link to professional activities of the victims.

IFJ Launches Campaign against Impunity in Mexico: The IFJ has joined forces with its regional group in Latin America, FEPALC, in urging Mexican authorities to take drastic measures to protect journalists. In a letter to the country’s federal leaders, including the President, IFJ and FEPACL urged them to end violence targeting journalists, in the wake of abduction and murder of journalist Mosés Sanchez in which a mayor is suspected of involvement. Read more here

FEPALC Slams Incitement to Violence against Journalists in Dominican Republic: Concerns were raised for the safety of four TV journalists in the country after the self-proclaimed Patriotic Movement labelled them as ‘traitors who should be killed’. FEPALC accused the group of incitement to violence and called on the authorities to investigate the reckless statements. Read more here

Fecolper Wins Protection Measures for Journalist in Colombia: The IFJ in Colombia has won a court case over protection measures for a journalist which the authorities had denied him while he travelled. Fecolper argued that this restricted the journalist’s ability to work outside his area of residence. The judge extended protection to his professional trips provided he provides prior notice for arrangements to be made. Read more here

Journalists Rally behind under ‘Threat’ Charlie Hebdo Reporter: IFJ affiliates in France and Morocco condemned death threats made through Twitter to Zineb El Rhazoui, journalist and contributor ofCharlie Hebdo, and her husband, the Moroccan writer Jaouad Benaissi. Read more here

Arrest of Murder Suspect in Killing of Swedish Journalist in Afghanistan:The Afghan security agency announced the arrest of a commander of the terrorist organization, Mahaz-e-Fadaiyan who is suspected of murdering Nils Horner, the British-Swedish radio journalist Nils Horner, in Afghanistan in 2014.

The 51-year-old Hong Kong-based journalist working for Sveriges Radio, was killed in a rare daylight attack in Kabul in March last year, only a few days after he arrived in Afghanistan. Two weeks after the attack, Mahaz-e-Fadaiyan claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing Horner of being an MI6 spy. 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.

Media organisations must 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, media organisations and 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.