Journalists at South Asia Meet Reaffirm Commitment to Press Freedom and Social Justice

Media

Release: SAMSN

25

July 2013

 

Journalists and media practitioners from all eight countries of

South Asia met at Kathmandu between July 21 and 23 for the eleventh annual

meeting of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN). The meeting took note

of the continuing deterioration in press freedom in the region and resolved that

as the key platform for collective union action in South Asia, SAMSN would continue

its campaign of advocacy on the many challenges faced by journalists in the

region.

 

SAMSN seeks to be the common voice of journalists from South Asia.

It represents all regional affiliates of the International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) in coalition with journalists' organisations and press

freedom partners working for a free and fair media founded on sound and ethical

journalism.

 

The eleventh

annual meeting of SAMSN took serious note of the growing recourse to

extra-legal action by state and non-state actors intent on silencing

journalism. Of over six hundred journalists killed world over in the last

twelve years, one-sixth have been in Pakistan and one-fourth in South Asia.

Overt and covert threats of violence continue being used to silence journalists

engaged in reporting in the public interest.

 

In

countries that have just emerged from years of conflict, such as Sri Lanka and

Nepal, processes of national reconciliation have been halting and hesitant and

journalists who dare to speak up for justice and human rights face numerous

hazards. In the conflict-prone regions of India, journalists function under a

regime of extra-legal coercion where constitutional rights are violated on

almost a daily basis.

 

The

convergence of media investments with other political and other business

interests, threatens the free practice of journalism in all of South Asia. In

Bangladesh, the integration of the media industry with other lines of business

is compounded by political rivalries which deepen the polarisation among

journalists and undermine the possibility of collective action on issues of

vital concern.

 

SAMSN

reaffirms its commitment to partners in Bhutan and the Maldives as they seek to

establish themselves as viable collective bargaining agents, safeguarding journalists’

wages and working conditions.

 

SAMSN

endorses the efforts made by partner organisations to push back against the

threats they face. It resolves to use international covenants that national

governments in South Asia are party to, such as the U.N. human rights instruments

and the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women

(CEDAW), to improve freedom, diversity and choice for media practitioners and

audiences.

 

SAMSN

welcomes the initiation of the U.N. Action Plan Against Impunity for attacks on

journalists in the partner countries of Nepal and Pakistan. It resolves to

evolve a common template for the monitoring of media rights in all countries of

South Asia. Factors and circumstances that militate against ethically sound

journalism are common to all eight countries and allow for a shared regional

approach.

 

SAMSN

will continue to engage in collective cross-border solidarity actions to uphold

the causes it is committed to. As part of building its campaign capacity, SAMSN

resolves to create an online resource or a digital hub which would host a broad

range of content relevant to its principal concerns.

 

SAMSN

endorses the charter of principles agreed in 2008 and authorises its steering

group members to function as focal points for in-country deliberations and

campaign planning upto its twelfth annual session, scheduled for 2014.

 

 

For further information

contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0918

The IFJ represents more

than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific