The media had no special protection against the Asian tsunami, which killed more than 290,000 people. The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunamis devastated a number of communities in a dozen Indian Ocean countries on 26 December 2004.
The newspaper Serambi Indonesia, which operates out of the Sumatran regional capital Banda Aceh, lost 51 of its 193 staff in the disaster. In total, 70 media workers in Aceh are missing presumed dead after their houses were reduced to rubble.
In Sri Lanka, journalists along the tsunami-ravaged north and east coasts have lost their livelihoods. The ocean swept away their computers, digital cameras, tape recorders and mobile phones along with their homes.
As eyewitnesses to the disaster, journalists had a huge task: to cover the immediate catastrophe, which required reporters to uphold a high standard of accuracy, professionalism and, above all, ethics while, at the same time, maintaining their own peace of mind in an atmosphere of great suffering which had a traumatic effect on survivors and observers alike.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has released a new report highlighting the challenges facing journalists and media organisations in covering the Asian Tsunami.
"Shaking Our Foundations: Media and the Asian Tsunami" says the media must now ensure transparent and corruption-free aid reaches the damaged regions. This burden will continue to be most strongly felt in hardest hit countries such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka where media also have a special role to monitor the actions of the authorities.
The report gives an overview of efforts by local and international media to respond to this challenge and suggests how media can play a better role in monitoring reconstruction efforts.
By raising awareness of these issues, the report says "we can ensure that the coverage is not only of a high standard, but also that it will contribute to the restoration of the affected regions."
The IFJ's executive committee will consider the report and recommendations will be made for further support to journalists in tsunami affected regions.
For more information contact:
IFJ Asia- Pacific Office director, Jacqueline Park on +61 411 721 692
or at email@example.com