Media professionals face many threats

UN discusses protection of journalists in conflict zones

GMT 17:25 2013 Friday ,19 July

Arab Today, arab today UN discusses protection of journalists in conflict zones

More than 600 journalists have been killed in past decade
New York – Arab Today

More than 600 journalists have been killed in past decade New York – Arab Today UN deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson underlined that in the past decade more than 600 journalists were killed and more than 90 percent of the assassinations on journalists went unpunished. The United Nations Security Council discussed in a meeting on Wednesday, the protection of civilians including journalists in conflict zones.
"In many cases, journalists were murdered while covering corruption and illegal activities, and their assassinations were often preceded by threats. Attacks also took the forms of abduction, hostage taking, harassment, intimidation and illegal arrest," Eliasson told the council meeting.
He also added that women journalists were increasingly victims of sexual harassment and rape.
“Every time a journalist is killed by extremists, drug cartels or even government forces, there is one less voice to speak on behalf of the victims of conflict, crime and human rights abuses. Every journalist murdered or intimidated into silence is one less observer of efforts to uphold rights and ensure human dignity," he said.
Veteran journalists also addressed the meeting, urging solid measures to protect journalists at conflict zones.
Richard Engel of the NBC, who was kidnapped in December 2012 in Syria and held for four days, said protecting journalists was a task that was harder than ever these days because distinguishing between journalists and activists became more ambiguous than ever before. "Because you have to tackle the question of who is a journalist and who is an activist in a way that never existed before. We're all bloggers and punks and rebels with cameras. There is absolutely no respect for career journalists anymore. Professional journalists need protection and immunity, just like diplomats," he said.
Working for the AFP in Somalia, Mustafa Haji Abdinur highlighted that many of his friends were murdered and he was counting himself lucky.
He said he was often referred to as a "dead man walking. I'm here simply because I'm lucky, because the gunmen who have killed so many of my friends have not yet found me. It’s not a matter of if, but when."
"Without a free press, there can be no freedom for a country," Abdinur said, adding that when a journalist is killed, "the news dies too."
Source: Anadolu Agency

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