Welcome to the new issue of the IFJ Focus on Safety, a blog which provides highlights, news and in-depth analysis of safety-related events of concerns to journalists. The blog is part of the IFJ strategy to promote the safety of journalists and to combat the issue of impunity.
Please check out the IFJ International Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism at the end of this issue.
We value your feedback and would like to hear about your safety experience in the field as well as any safety-related stories you would like to share with members of the IFJ family, the global journalists’ community.
The issue covers the following safety-related events and activities:
The Story behind Killings – IFJ’s In-depth Report on Media Workers Killed in 2016
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) publishes its 26th report on journalists and media professionals killed in the course of their work in 2016.
The report lists details of 93 media professionals killed in work-related incidents such as targeted murders, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents last year, a decrease compared to the 2015 figure of 112 killings. There 29 other cases of accidentals deaths in Colombia and Russia.
The publication also contains a safety analysis of each of the IFJ regions. The Middle East and Arab World have the highest number of killings (30), followed by Asia Pacific with 28 killings, Latin America (24), Africa (8) and Europe (3).
Read more here
IFJ supports unique ‘by journalists for journalists’ insurance scheme
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) negotiated with a major insurance company a unique and cost-effective insurance scheme covering all media workers without restriction in any region of the world – including war zones. The scheme was launched in January 2017.
Many insurance companies refuse to insure news professionals working in dangerous areas, or do it on very high premiums. As a result, many reporters and freelancers, including fixers and technical staff, covering news in some of the world's most dangerous countries without the safety net of an insurance policy.
Now the IFJ has negotiated with ‘Insurance for Journalists’ to provide the opportunity for cover for all its affiliates’ members working on assignments anywhere in the world. ‘Insurance for Journalists’ is an insurer specialising solely in insuring media staff, without restrictions, following them wherever their next assignment may take them.
Read more here
Journalists Beaten Inside Police Station in Bangladesh
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) strongly condemn the beating of two television journalists inside a police station in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 26. The IFJ demands punishment to the responsible policemen.
Cameraperson Abdul Alim and reporter Ishan Bin Didar of private TV station ATN News, were brutally beaten by a group of policemen inside the Shahbagh Police Station while they were covering the shutdown enforced by the demonstrators protesting the construction of a power plant. Alim needed three stitches on his right eyebrows as a result of the beating.
Read more here
Radio Journalist Beaten by Afghan Politician’s Bodyguards
Zabihullah Ghazi, a correspondent of Voice of America radio in Nangarhar province was beaten by the bodyguards of former Mayor of Jalalabad Lal Agha Kakar, who also vandalized his car. The incident occurred when Ghazi, on his way to Jalalabad, tried to film the armed bodyguards beating people in a traffic jam. The Mayor of Nangarhar, Golab Mangal, assured AIJA of an investigation into the incident and punishment to the perpetrators according to law.
Read more here
Pakistan TV Anchors Sexually Harassed at Workplace
Two journalists – Tanzela Mazhar and Yashfin Jamal – have accused the Director of news at the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) in Lahore of sexual harassment. The victims also took to social media and TV talk shows to push for investigation after their complaint to PTV authorities yielded no results. Mazhar alleged that she had filed a complaint following the incident, only to be told by the inquiry committee that she should have left the job in such a situation.
Read more here
Palestine: New Report Reveals Extent of Safety Crisis Facing Journalists
Almost half of all Palestinian field reporters, photographers and camera crews have been shot at, beaten, detained or banned from covering news, according to the report by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS).
The PJS annual press freedom report, published on 17 January, recorded more than 600 attacks and violations of Palestinian journalists´ rights during 2016. The vast majority of these attacks (557) were committed by the Israeli army and security forces. Dozens of other attacks against journalists were committed by the security forces of Hamas, the de facto government in Gaza Strip, and the security forces of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.
Read more here
IFJ Warns President Trump against Threats to Press Freedom
The International Federation of Journalists called on US President Donald Trump to stop attacking the media and respect freedom of expression as a fundamental right. The IFJ has been deeply concerned about a number of clashes between Donald Trump and the press throughout the presidential campaign and beyond, including a series of intimidations and threats against journalists, hateful comments, media bans and proposals to amend libel laws.
Read more here
Turkey: Journalists Detained Following Reports on Erdogan's Leaked Emails
According to the information received by the IFJ-EFJ, journalists and media workers Tunca Öğreten (freelance), Mahir Kanaat (accountant for BirGün daily), Ömer Celik (DIHA news director), Metin Yoksa (DIHA correspondent) Eray Saygin and Derya Okatan (journalist at ETHA) in Turkey.
No explanation was given for their arrest, but they were detained during Turkish police operation on 25 December at their homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir. Derya Okatan has been on hunger strike against the “state of emergency rulings” since 25 December and Ömer Celik was beaten during his arrest, reports added.
Read more here
IFJ International Safety Fund
The Fund has paid out a total of over 75.000 Euro in 2016 in assistance to journalists and their family members from around the world during 2016. It also received over 7.000 Euros in donations to journalists wishing to show their practical solidarity with their colleagues in need. Since the start of 2017, the IFJ Safety Find has already paid out over 5.000 Euros in humanitarian relief to journalists and their organisation in Yemen.
Number of Journalists Killed in 2017, So Far
The IFJ has recorded three killings of journalists and media staff in Bangladesh (Abdul Hakin Shimul), Honduras (Igor Padilla) and Pakistan (Muhammad Jan).
IFJ International Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism
The dangers to journalists and media staff working in dangerous situations and conflict zones are the subject of extensive record. The IFJ has recorded the deaths of more than 1000 journalists and media staff over the past ten years.
Many journalists are killed, injured or harassed in war zones, either targeted by one side or another or caught in the crossfire of violence. Others are victims of premeditated assault and intimidation either by criminals, terrorists or by agencies of the state — the police, the military or the security forces — acting secretly and illegally.
Very often there is little that journalists or media organisations can do to avoid casualties. There will, inevitably, be accidents, no matter how much care is taken to provide protection and there is little one can do when those targeting media use ruthless and brutal methods to crush journalistic inquiry.
However, there are steps that journalists and media organisations should take to minimise the risks to staff. In particular, the following are vital considerations in providing protection:
Adequate preparation, training and social protection. It is essential that journalists and media staff be in a state of readiness when difficulties arise. There should be a framework for providing individuals with health care and social protection.
Media professionals must be informed and inform themselves about the political, physical, and social terrain in which they are working. They must not contribute to the uncertainty and insecurity of their conditions through ignorance or reckless behaviour.
Media organisations must guard against risk-taking for competitive advantage, and should promote co-operation among journalists whenever conditions exist which are potentially hazardous.
Governments must remove obstacles to journalism. They must not restrict unnecessarily the freedom of movement of journalists or compromise the right of news media to gather, produce and disseminate information in secure and safe conditions.
People Must Keep Their Hands Off Media. Everyone should respect the physical integrity of journalists and media staff at work. Physical interference with filming or other journalistic work must be prohibited.
With these considerations in mind, the IFJ calls on journalists groups, media organisations and all relevant public authorities to respect the following International Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism:
1. Journalists and other media staff shall be properly equipped for all assignments including through the provision of first-aid materials, communication tools, adequate transport facilities and, where necessary, protective clothing;
2. Media organisations and, where appropriate, state authorities shall provide risk awareness training for those journalists and media workers who are likely to be involved in assignments where dangerous conditions prevail or may be reasonably expected;
3. Public authorities shall inform their personnel of the need to respect the rights of journalists and shall instruct them to respect the physical integrity of journalists and media staff while at work;
4. Media organisations shall provide social protection for all staff engaged in journalistic activity outside the normal place of work, including life insurance;
5. Media organisations shall provide, free of charge, medical treatment and health care, including costs of recuperation and convalescence, for journalists and media workers who are the victims of injury or illness as a result of their work outside the normal place of work;
6. Media organisations shall protect freelance or part-time employees. They must receive, on an equal basis, the same social protection and access to training and equipment as that made available to fully employed staff.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries