JournalismPakistan.com May 28, 2015
UNITED NATIONS: Stressing the crucial role journalists play in providing authentic information, Pakistan has called for stepped up efforts to ensure safety and security of media professionals, especially in situations of armed conflict.
"As a former journalist myself, I know the risks journalists take to unveil and uphold the truth," Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council on Wednesday, while speaking in a debate on Protection of Journalists in Conflict Situations.
Noting that deliberate violence against journalists was on the rise, the Pakistani envoy said that impunity for such acts must come to an end.
Threats to journalists had become more complex today as some regions of the world descend into chaos, she said. "Several new trends are now in evidence, increased use of terror tactics, rising threats to journalists, lives in conflict zones, the danger posed especially to female and freelance media workers and the media's resort to private armed escorts for their protection."
"The challenge is not only to strengthen the means to assure the safety of journalists in conflict situations, but also ensure they are not exposed to avoidable risks," Ambassador Lodhi added.
The high-level meeting chaired by Linas Linkevicius, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, which holds the Council's presidency for the month, also heard from the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, who pointed to the "troubling" rise in the number of journalists killed since 2006 and the increasing targeting and threatening of journalists by criminal and terrorist groups.
The 15-member Council also adopted a resolution condemning the frequent attack against journalists worldwide and strongly deploring impunity for such acts.
The unanimously adopted resolution urged States to take appropriate steps to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situations of armed conflict and to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said free press was an "enabling right" because it helped to secure a wide range of other universal human rights. In the information age, the role and contribution of journalists was even more critical, as they helped to shape opinion and assisted in presenting moral and political choices in conflict situations.
She shared the world's outrage at the recent beheading and summary execution of journalists by terrorists."This barbarism must come to an end and the safety of media personnel should be fully assured," she said. "Pakistan unequivocally condemns all attacks and violence against journalists in the performance of their professional duties."
While the current international legal framework for the protection of journalists was robust, deliberate violence against them was nonetheless on the rise. That alarming trend called for innovative thinking, approaches and responses.
Among her suggestions was greater understanding and awareness and full and effective implementation of existing provisions of international law; a well-coordinated and comprehensive international awareness-raising campaign; intensified efforts to ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice; and, among others, careful review of practices such as embedded journalism. "This is also essential to ensure their impartiality." - APP
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