WAN-IFRA has joined forces with a coalition of international organizations to campaign for the adoption of a new UN Convention dedicated to the protection of media professionals. The consortium includes representatives of journalists, media workers, broadcasters, and newspapers from around the world.
Meeting at the UN headquarters in New York with state representatives from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America, the coalition set out the case for a new UN Convention with the objective to rectify a gap in international law for binding norms establishing safeguards for journalists and media professionals including cameramen, photographers, technical supporting staff, drivers and interpreters, editors, translators, publishers, broadcasters, printers and distributors.
The initiative was launched by the International Federation of Journalists, with a Convention drafted by International Human Rights expert Carmen Draghici, senior lecturer in Law, City University in London. During the meeting in NYC, Dr Draghici said that there was a clear case for a dedicated instrument to tackle crimes against journalists as a result of the deliberate targeting of journalists and the systemic impact of attacks on media workers for citizens’ right to know.
IFJ President Philippe Leruth said, “A journalist’s murder simply because of his or her activity is a scandal, but a far bigger scandal is that 9 out of every 10 journalists’ murders remain unpunished. The Khashoggi case, like all the others, illustrate that journalists are singled out as a target and as such they need dedicated protection”.
Elena Perotti, executive director – Public Affairs and Media Policy at WAN-IFRA said, “In the current international legal framework there are no binding norms establishing safeguards for media workers specifically. This undeniably contributes to the phenomenon of the accountability bar being reset to the lowest level by States getting away with the normalisation of a culture of violence against journalists.”