Coalition aims to safeguard reporters

Press freedom groups have launched an initiative aimed at making journalism safer around the world.

This week they backed a declaration in Geneva promoting safety and security for journalists working in danger areas.

The Geneva Declaration renews demands for governments to end impunity for those responsible for attacks on journalists.

It also calls for independent investigations into the unexplained deaths or disappearances of journalists.

The meeting was organised by the Press Emblem Campaign, a coalition of groups that seek the adoption of an international emblem for journalists, similar to the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols used by humanitarian aid workers.

It was agreed to invite the International News Safety Institute to set up a committee of experts to prepare a report on the legal, professional and practical issues for improving safety and security in journalism, while looking again at the possible need for a new international convention and an emblem.

Groups backing the declaration included the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the International News Safety Institute, the World Association of Newspapers and the International Press Institute.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White commented: “The world of journalism cannot wait for longwinded debates over new laws and ideas about whether journalists need an internationally recognised emblem to protect them. We need action now, we need governments to abide by international law and we need the killers of media staff brought to justice.”

??The Geneva meeting also backed a resolution expressing alarm at the increasing levels of killing and kidnapping of journalists around the world.

By Jon Slattery

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