News organizations standing up for the safety of media professionals

In pursuance of its priority for the safety of journalists, IPDC’s Bureau approved the involvement of this intergovernmental body in convening of a conference of media leaders at UNESCO. The 5 February conference, convened on the mandate of the Executive Board in UNESCO Headquarters, and with the support of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), involved close to 300 participants from countries from across the world, including media leaders and Member State delegations. They exchanged ideas and views about the media’s role in enhancing the safety of journalists and ending impunity.

After a rich debate on media’s role in securing safety of journalists and ending impunity among media leaders from 51 countries and six continents, IPDC Chair, Ms. Albana Shala, presented IPDC ‘s concrete action in this field both at normative and operational levels and called for the reinforcement of the Programme “so that more can be done to protect journalists”. She also urged Member States to increase reporting levels on the safety of journalists in their respective countries by ensuring that the relevant institutions share information with IPDC which tracks progress in this area.

Australia, Austria, Finland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States of America, the Open Society Foundations and Al Jazeera supported the event. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Press Institute (IPI), the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) participated in the Conference and expressed commitment for follow-up action.

A selection of almost 50 articles from global media coverage in seven languages is available at the conference site. UNESCO’s own focus article is also online. A photo gallery is also online.

The IPDC Bureau, which will be meeting on 17-18 March 2016, will be considering a series of follow-up initiatives in this area, including the strengthening of IPDC’s monitoring and reporting mechanism on the safety of journalists and impunity issues.