The International Federation of Journalists today agreed to forge fresh links between journalists’ groups throughout the Middle East to promote co-operation in defence of journalists’ social and professional rights.
The world congress of the IFJ, meeting in Athens, which for the first time included delegates from Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan as well as a number of new Arab affiliates, agreed to reinforce its work with the movement of Arab journalists.
Following the adoption of a joint declaration between the Federation of Arab Journalists and the IFJ in Rabat last year, the IFJ organized a joint mission to Iraq earlier this year and developed an extensive programme of support for a rejuvenated Iraqi journalists’ movement.
“The Congress decision to encourage the formation of a new regional group for the Middle East is an opportunity to build a new and lasting solidarity among journalists of the region,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
He said that although the Arab world was itself full of social and political diversity, the inclusion of Israel, Iran as well as the Kurdish communities of the region provided a challenge to create a viable regional movement driven by professional values and trade union rights.
“The Middle East is a region full of diversity and the journalists within the region from every community have an equal stake in building unity and professional solidarity, particularly at a time of troubles and conflict,” said White.
The newly-elected leadership of the IFJ which takes office today will be faced with the task of defining the scope and range of a new regional grouping for the Middle East.
“It will be a difficult task, and although many try to divide the journalists’ movement, we aim to bring colleagues together under a single, simple and enduring banner – press freedom, security and social justice for all journalists,” said White.
For more information contact Stefania DelFino at +32 473 863 660
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries