News / Africa

UN Hears Demands for Protection of Journalists

A panel of journalists and diplomats addresses a United Nations Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the protection of journalists, at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 17, 2013.
A panel of journalists and diplomats addresses a United Nations Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the protection of journalists, at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 17, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Larry Freund
— Journalists and United Nations diplomats addressed the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to demand increased protection for those in the journalism profession.

Jan Eliasson, the United Nations deputy secretary-general, detailed the dimensions of the problem. In the past decade, he said, more than 600 journalists have been killed exercising what he called their critical role in society.

Just 10 days ago, he added, a Somali television journalist was shot and killed on his way home.

“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," said Eliasson. "Every journalist murdered or intimidated into silence is one less observer of efforts to uphold rights and ensure human dignity. The least we can do when a journalist is murdered is to ensure that the death is investigated swiftly and that justice is served."

Somali reporter Mustafa Haji Abdinur - one of several journalists who spoke to the Security Council - said he is described in his country as a “dead man walking.” Abdinur, who reports for the French news agency AFP, said he will never be discouraged. He said that even sitting in the Security Council in New York, however, was not without risk.

"In showing my face to you and the world, I increase the threat of becoming attacked when I go back home. But I am a journalist. They may call me ‘a dead man walking,’ but I report the news,” he said.

Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC television in the United States, urged the Security Council to focus on two campaigns: one for free speech for activists who use media, the other for a renewed commitment to defend dedicated and trained professionals who take risks to deliver the kind of information the council needs to make its decisions.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Rosemary DiCarlo, agreed. As she put it, journalists are literally the council’s eyes and ears in every corner of the world.

“Recognizing the value of the work of journalists reporting on conflict, this council has an obligation to help protect those who provide us with so much vital information. We thank journalists around the world who risk their lives to seek the truth and shine light on the darkness for the entire world to see. The Security Council could not do its job without you,” she said.

Another reporter appearing before the Security Council, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, said that for at least the past decade, there has been a systematic hunting down of journalists. Abdul-Ahad, who reports from his native Iraq for The Guardian newspaper, said there is a sense of immunity for killing a journalist.

“If you, ladies and gentlemen, can make an effort to recognize journalists as part of a humanitarian effort to tell a story. Many of you hate us, by the way, I know that," he said. "It’s a sign that we are doing our job properly.  But there has to be some sort of balance. Just let us be there, treat us as human beings. Just don’t kill us.”

In his remarks, Deputy Secretary General Eliasson said more than 90 percent of those who kill  journalists go unpunished.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid