19.10.2012 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO director delivers keynote at journalism safety symposium in London

UNESCO’S Director of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development Guy Berger delivered the keynote address at the “Media Responses to Matters of Life and Death” symposium yesterday at the BBC Broadcasting House in London.

The meeting, organized by the BBC College of Journalism and the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM), brought together editors from media groups around the world, together with frontline journalists, to focus on how media houses can best engage with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

Berger’s speech followed opening remarks by Peter Harrocks, the Director of BBC Global News. The symposium included testimonies presented by journalists from Latin America, Central America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Editors and managers also spoke about their experiences in dealing with cases of murder, kidnapping, torture and impunity.

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) and the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) also gave brief presentations arguing for the protection of journalists. The symposium was followed by a structured debate on the engagement of the UN and UNESCO and the industry-wide actions and responses to issues related to the safety of journalists.

Yesterday’s symposium was the result of a civil society initiative in response to the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which was endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board in April. The UN Plan of Action brings together the various UN mechanisms, national authorities, civil society and media professionals with the aim to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide.

The 2nd UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity will take place 22-23 November in Vienna, Austria in order to formulate concrete implementation strategies based on the UN Plan of Action. The event will be convened by UNESCO and co-hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).




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