The ABU is firmly committed to promoting the safety of journalists who work in hostile environments.
In July 2009, the ABU News Group endorsed the safety code of the International News Safety Institute (INSI). The wide-ranging code calls for appropriate safety training and the provision of safety equipment for staff sent to hazardous locations. It urges news organisations to consider safety first, before competitive advantage, for journalists in hostile environments. The code says assignments to war and other danger zones must be voluntary and involve only experienced news gatherers and those under their direct supervision.
For the full safety code see the INSI website: www.newssafety.org
WEMF calls for action on murders of journalists
Broadcasters attending the fourth World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF 4) in Mexico City in November 2009 called for sustained and concrete international action to address the murder of journalists in peace time and in war.
Like its three predecessors – in Geneva (2003), Tunis (2005) and Kuala Lumpur (2007) -WEMF 4 was organised by the world’s eight regional broadcasting unions, including the ABU.
The full text of their declaration reads:
WEMF4 Declaration on the Safety of Journalists
Broadcasters attending the fourth World Electronic Media Forum in Mexico City, 12-13 November 2009, call for sustained and concrete international action to address the murder of journalists and media support staff around the globe in peacetime and in war.
Governments are primarily responsible for the safety of all of their citizens, including those in the news media. They have a responsibility to protect those citizens, pursue their killers and ensure freedom of expression, which is a basic right for all under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
No society can be truly free when journalists live in fear of their lives.
More than 350 journalists have died around the world in the three years since the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists and other news media in armed conflict. As always, most of them were killed not in war but while doing their jobs in their own countries in peacetime.
Armed conflict arises in peacetime between societies and criminals. Journalists are killed as they try to shine the light of truth into the darkest recesses of their societies.
Eight out of 10 killers of journalists are not brought to justice. States must apply their laws against murder equally to all of their citizens and end the culture of impunity that so often protects the murderers of journalists.
In Mexico, our host nation, many journalists have been murdered reporting on the activities of drug cartels. The country is now the most dangerous for the news media in the Western Hemisphere.
Like its three predecessors in Geneva (2003), Tunis (2005) and Kuala Lumpur (2007), WEMF4 was organised by the world’s eight regional broadcasting unions: the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasters (AUB), the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and the Organizacion de Telecomunicaciones Iberoamericanas (OTI).