The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) this week welcomed the adoption of Resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts by the United Nations Security Council, applauding the Security Council for this important step forward in securing journalist protection globally.
Last year, was the worst year on record for journalist killings with 135 journalists and media workers murdered globally. The Asia Pacific region was the most deadly region globally with 35 targeted killings. Pakistan topped the global tally with 14 journalist killed. Already in 2015, 51 journalists have been killed around the world.
During the 74509th meeting of the Security Council on May 27, the council unanimously adopted Resolution 2222 (2015) addressing the growing safety issues facing journalists across the world. The Resolution calls on states to fulfil its obligation with regard to the protection of journalists during armed conflicts. In the opening of the Council session, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said: “It is our shared responsibility to protect the voices that alert, warn and inform on situations threatening international peace and security.”
IFJ President Jim Boumelha said: “We are pleased that the important role of journalists, especially in war zones, is recognised and the need to provide them with protection taken seriously at the highest level of world governance. Unfortunately, while this is a positive step and a strong message, we remain concerned over the lack of concrete action to ensure that all governments are held to their international obligation to fight against impunity for violence against journalists within their borders.”
Resolution 2222 (2015) is the first Resolution adopted by the Security Council, regarding journalist safety, since Resolution 1738 in December 2006. The new Resolution includes a new development in the support of media workers in conflict zones, encouraging UN peacekeeping operations to regularly report on their safety, “United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions, where appropriate should include in their mandated reporting information on specific acts of violence against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situation of armed conflict.”
The IFJ Asia Pacific office highlighted the ongoing challenges in the region particularly in Pakistan which is dealing with numerous frontlines and conflict zones. Meanwhile impunity for journalists killings carried out during national conflicts in Nepal and Sri Lanka remains a blight on the region.
On May 7, the IFJ and SAMSN released the annual South Asia Press Freedom Report, The Freedom Frontier: Press Freedom in South Asia 2014-15, which included for the first time, capsule reports from conflict zones, including Peshawar, KP/FATA, Balochistan, Jaffna and the East in Sri Lanka and Kashmir. The reports highlights the hazardous situation where press freedom is indeed a challenge. Some spots are focal points where media workers are particularly vulnerable.
The IFJ welcomes this Resolution and calls on all member-states to ensure the recommendations are adopted and implemented to take active steps to curb the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists.