Iraqi journalists display unity as politicians squabble

Dominic Ponsford
 
While Iraq’s leaders
are struggling to agree a constitution – the country’s journalists have
gathered together in a display of unity.

Meeting in Jordan more than 40 leaders from journalists’
groups across the country have adopted a Charter for Social and
Professional Rights and agreed a series of proposals to strengthen
journalistic independence.

International Federation of Journalists general secretary
Aidan White said: “Journalists are caught in the crossfire of a
dangerous political battle. But they are ready to work together to
create a media culture that could be a model for the region.”

According to the IFJ, the meeting adopted a number of
proposals which should help ensure journalism plays a role in building
a democratic culture in the country.

These included:

*The creation of a national council for media to act as a
monitoring body and as an instrument of self-regulation for Iraqi
journalism.
· The preparation and adoption of a code of ethics.

*The establishment of a national women’s committee for Iraqi
media to support gender equality and to promote a national network of
women in Iraqi journalism. 

*A nationwide training programme on journalists’ safety and the opening of an Iraqi journalists’ safety centre in Baghdad.

White said: “The message from this meeting is that
Iraqijournalists are determined, even in the face of violence and
intimidation, to stick together to press their demands for democratic,
professional and socialrights.

resource”This meeting has identified a plan of action for
journalism that is urgently needed. Now we need the political will to
make it work.”

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