In Almeria, in front of the monument to Freedom of Expression, in Periodistas Square, on 16 April 2005, two months before the Fifteenth Mediterranean Games, the present document is read in Arabic, Spanish, French and English.
At the FIRST MEETING OF MEDITERRANEAN JOURNALISTS “ALMERIA 2005”, organised by the Association of Journalists-Almeria Press Association in collaboration with the Federation of Spanish Press Associations (FAPE), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and sponsored by the Council for the Presidency of the Andalusian regional government, thirty ORGANISATIONS that represent 65,000 journalists from 24 Mediterranean countries AGREE the following manifesto:
<center>THE MEDITERRAEAN JOURNALISTS’ ALMERIA DECLARATION</center>
“Mediterranean communication and cooperation” has convened the IFJ’s Fourth Conference of Journalists from the Mediterranean Region and the Forum for Mediterranean Journalists for dialogue and discussion, and to agree the following conclusions that we transmit to the public authorities and society in general in the Mediterranean countries:
- We reaffirm that solidarity among journalists on both shores of the Mediterranean will enable us to combat all forms of pressure and censorship intended to silence the right to be informed. This right, as well as free and independent journalism, is a necessary requirement for democracy to develop.
- We denounce that in some Mediterranean countries attacks, censorship, tortures and other forms of intimidation against independent journalists and the media are increasing. We unreservedly condemn the fact that journalists are targeted or taken as hostages, as is currently the case in Iraq and other areas.
- We urge journalists and media companies to assume a commitment for peace, democracy and human rights, against all forms of violence. It is a commitment that takes the shape of care and respect for the victims of violence and verifying information to prevent manipulation by the parties in conflict, and to prevent the use of military language in the news.
- We request that journalists who work in conflict zones should have a statute for war correspondents. We stress the responsibility of editorial companies to train journalists for dangerous missions, and to provide adequate coverage for them and their families in the event of kidnapping, disappearance or death. Likewise, we request that the Statute for War Correspondents in Conflict Zones, presented at this Meeting of Mediterranean Journalists, be taken on board by the various governments, making it a model for negotiation with editorial companies.
- We propose that IJF’s Gender Commission should continue their work, taking into account the Mediterranean region in particular. Furthermore, we encourage organisations of journalists to actively take part in the Gender Commission and to make progress in equality policies that promote the reconciliation of work and family life.
- We recommend the correct use of language and of information on the part of journalists and the media, to avoid an undignified image of immigrants that promotes racism and xenophobia.
- We condemn the strategy of some owners of the media who privilege commercial information to the detriment of independent journalism of quality that meets the public’s legitimate wishes. We denounce the situation that occurs when ownership of the media is concentrated, thereby diminishing and standardising freedom of expression, and making it less plural. We warn of conflict and the confusion of interests in editorial companies.
- To preserve their professional independence, as well as their ethics, journalists need to negotiate decent financial conditions with our employers. We reject precarious employment and recommend that the authorities should accept or subscribe the principles given in the European Code of Journalism Ethics. We urge the authorities to legislate so that the rights of creators (i.e.: journalists) over their work are acknowledged, including digital formats.
- We invite the establishment of bodies to ensure compliance with our professional ethics (such as audio-visual councils, news councils, editorial commissions, for instance) that will ensure the exercise of our employment rights, with the differences that distinguish us from other professions.
- We propose that organisations of professionals should create sites on the Web that will enable a regular and permanent exchange of ideas between the two Mediterranean shores. Likewise, we suggest that the Web site www.periodistas2005.com should become a forum for discussion.
- We desire the promotion of the Barcelona process so that the countries on the southern shore can profit even more from a partnership policy that has not achieved all of its objectives over the past few years.
- In the International Year for Sports and Physical Education and the Fifteenth Mediterranean Games Almeria 2005, we encourage news professionals and the media to acquire a firm commitment to transmit to society the positive values of sport as a vehicle for integration, encounter, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation.
- We support and invite journalists and media companies to faithfully disseminate the spirit, message and philosophy of the Games and the Mediterranean Sports Charter, as factors that definitely encourage cooperation and mutual understanding between all peoples and cultures. Likewise, we request the International Commission of the Mediterranean Games (CIJM) to establish a forum for journalists to discuss the Olympic movement and its impact on society.
- We propose that the forum of Mediterranean journalists should be consolidated as a biennial encounter, with headquarters in the cities of Almeria, Granada and Malaga, and with the support of its press associations, the FAPE, the IFJ and the Andalusian regional government.
- The next edition of the IFJ Group’s conference of Mediterranean journalists will be held in Tunisia, shortly before the Information Society’s world summit. Six months later, another conference will be held in Croatia.
<center>To read the resolutions click here</center>
The Almeria 2005 Meeting, and subsequent meetings, will be based on the aims of the declarations of Milan (1993 and 1995), Zagreb (1997), Florence (1998), Rabat (1999), Athens (2001), and Cypress (2002) and the activities of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The present document is approved by representatives of organisations of journalists in Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cypress, Croatia, Egypt, Slovenia, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Ex-Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, San Marino, Tunisia, Turkey, Union of Serbia and Montenegro and Spain. Journalists from Andorra and Syria also give testimony of their adherence to the Declaration.