Building Confidence in Solidarity - Rabat Declaration 2003

International Federation of Journalists


Federation of Arab Journalists



The leaders of the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of Arab Journalists meeting together in Rabat, Morocco, on April 12th 2003,


insisting that all journalists must be able to work in safe and secure conditions,


demanding that all governments must remove obstacles to press freedom and the exercise of free journalism, and


believing that journalists around the world must work together to build global solidarity around principles of pluralism and democracy,


declare

  1. their total condemnation of all forms of interference in the work of journalists and particularly the killing and brutal intimidation of journalists during the current war on Iraq and


  2. their intention to work together for an independent international inquiry into the deaths of journalists and all incidents of intimidation, detention and harassment affecting media staff during the Iraq conflict.



Furthermore, the IFJ and FAJ,


noting the need for a wider and deeper dialogue among journalists about press freedom and the defence of professionalism, particularly in a time of tension,


believing that the restructuring of media in Iraq must reflect the highest standards of pluralism, press freedom and editorial independence


convinced that journalists' social and professional rights are best protected through the creation of strong, independent and inclusive associations and unions of journalists


agree to work together with the following objectives,


  1. to ensure the voice of press freedom within the Arab world is heard in international discussions on strategies for restructuring of media in Iraq

  2. to assist Iraqi journalists launch a new, unified and vigorous organisation committed to defence of social and professional rights for all Iraqi journalists

  3. to defend the rights of all media staff in the Middle East and particularly Palestinian journalists;

  4. to support the International News Safety Institute, ensuring that all Arab journalists and media staff have access to the training, assistance and benefits of the global campaign for news safety

  5. to organise professional training programmes for journalists and actions to strengthen respect for ethical and professional values

  6. to establish a common platform of demands that reflects the priorities for journalists at world and regional level in the formulation of global trade policy and at the World Summit on the Information Society and

  7. to support the creation of journalists' trades unions and independent organisations of journalists to fight for better working conditions in journalism.



The IFJ and FAJ agree to establish a joint commission to oversee co-operation between the two organisations and to implement the following immediate plan of action:

  • a study of the conditions of journalists in Iraq,

  • the organisation of a joint workshop on freedom of the press to be convened by the FAJ in Cairo during 2003,

  • the formulation of a joint programme on training on professional and labour relations issues,

  • support for the International News Safety Institute including participation of a FAJ representative on the board,

  • arrangements for participation, on a mutual basis, in meetings of both organisations,

  • the establishment of a direct and continuing line of communication between the headquarters of both organisations to assist future collaboration.



In pursuit of these objectives the IFJ, recognising the FAJ as the representative regional group of Arab journalists, welcomes the participation of FAJ members in the work of the IFJ.


Finally, the IFJ and FAJ congratulate the National Press Union of Morocco, a leading member of both organisations, for hosting this historical initiative and creating the opportunity for dialogue, which gives important and timely impetus to the cause of unity, solidarity and professionalism in journalism worldwide.