CWA president calls on Canadian Senate to support IFJ convention on safety

CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon addressed the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on 5 December, calling for support for the IFJ-backed draft UN convention on journalists’ safety. 

CWA Canada President Martin O'Hanlon, left, with VICE Media reporter Ben Makuch, who has been ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada to hand over materials he gathered about an alleged terrorist. Credit : CWA

Martin O’Hanlon, President of CWA media union, an IFJ affiliate, was invited to speak about the rights of journalists to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In his statement , delivered on behalf of the IFJ,  O’Hanlon highlighted that “freedom of expression and more specifically, freedom of the press, are under serious threat around the globe (...)”.  He pointed out that attacks and threats on journalists and impunity for these crimes are increasing “from Saudi Arabia to Russia to Cuba(...)” and also across Europe and North America. He recalled senators that journalists Antoine Trépanier and Marie-Maude Denis from Radio-Canada as well as Vice reporter Ben Makuch, were also brought to Canadian justice for just doing their job.

“Attacks on media are attacks on our democratic systems”  said President of CWA adding that “nine out of 10 cases remain unpunished” .

To tackle the reign of impunity, O’Hanlon called on the Senate as well as the Canadian Government, to support the IFJ proposal for an international Convention on the Safety of Journalists and Media Professionals :

“Such a convention would provide a codification of all international rules that apply to journalists in one instrument, bringing together both human rights and humanitarian law provisions.”

Support the Convention! Add your organisation's name, lobby your government and political parties to support it and invite an IFJ representative to address your meeting to discuss the protection of journalists !

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