News / Middle East

UN Spearheads Drive to Protect Journalists After Deadly 2012

UN Spearheads Drive to Protect Journalistsi
X
January 08, 2013 8:25 PM
2012 was the deadliest year on record for journalists, with over 100 killed in their line of work. The United Nations announces a plan to improve safety for journalists around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Henry Ridgwell
2012 was the deadliest year on record for journalists, with over 100 killed in their line of work.  The United Nations is spearheading a new drive to improve safety for journalists around the world.  

When shells fell on the Syrian city of Homs in February 2012, a building used by foreign media took a direct hit - killing renowned Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin, along with French journalist Remi Ochlik.  Photographer Paul Conroy was injured. 

The incident was among the most high profile of 2012.  But there were many more fatal attacks on members of the media.  Many of them were specifically targeted for their reporting.

“You have not only this consistent rise in the number of killings of journalists to stop them reporting about crime, corruption and abuse of power, but in the last couple of years, especially in north Africa, from Somalia to Syria, you’ve got war again," said
William Horsley, who is from the Centre for Freedom of the Media at the University of Sheffield.

Indian journalists walk with their two wheelers at the funeral procession of fellow journalist Bwizamani Singh in Imphal, India, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.Indian journalists walk with their two wheelers at the funeral procession of fellow journalist Bwizamani Singh in Imphal, India, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.
x
Indian journalists walk with their two wheelers at the funeral procession of fellow journalist Bwizamani Singh in Imphal, India, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.
Indian journalists walk with their two wheelers at the funeral procession of fellow journalist Bwizamani Singh in Imphal, India, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.
Exact figures vary, but the U.N. says over 100 journalists were killed doing their job in 2012.  Late last year at a conference in Vienna, the United Nations launched its Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity.   

“What is needed is the public and the press to make the world’s populations understand the link between the killing of journalists and the undermining of the rule of law and stability in whole societies," said Horsley.

At an October symposium at the BBC College of Journalism, members of the world’s media gathered to discuss attacks on journalists.

Nearly 20 Somali journalists were killed in 2012 alone.  And Omar Faruk Osman of the Somali National Union of Journalists says some of the murders have been brutal.

“Not only journalists are killed in Somalia by bullets, they are also killed by beheading.  In our lives we have never seen journalists beheaded," said Osman.  

Pakistani media are also under threat for their coverage of schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai -- now discharged from a British hospital after being shot in the head by the Taliban. 

“The Taliban have announced open war against Pakistani media because we are supporting the little girl Malala Yousafzai," said Hamid Mir of Geo TV in Pakistan.

Bob Tyrer, associate editor of the Sunday Times of London, wants much tougher legal protection for the media.

“I think that the killing of journalists should be a crime against humanity," he said.

American freelance reporter James Foley has not been seen since he was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Syria in November.  It is another reminder of the dangers of the job - dangers that appear to be getting worse.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs