Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today endorsed a joint declaration by the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) and the
Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ) that demands an end to
all restrictions to reporting of the Georgian/ Russian
conflict. They call for an end to war propaganda and concrete actions to
promote dialogue and confidence between Russian
and Georgian journalists.
declaration is a major step towards ending the unjustified and enduring restrictions
on journalists," said Aidan white, IFJ General Secretary. "In the face of
government obstruction, the professional journalists' communities are leading
the demands for mutual respect for their rights."
Since the conflict
of summer 2008, Georgian journalists have been prevented from accessing the conflict
zones of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Russian
journalists are denied access to the rest of Georgia. Meanwhile both governments
continue to block the transmissions of media from either country.
calls on both governments to respect their obligations under UN security
Council Resolution 1738, that obliges governments to protect journalists in
conflict zones. Both unions also demand
an independent review of the misuse of media to promoting war propaganda and
The IFJ says that
the long term resolution of the conflict and reconciliation between communities
in the region can only be achieved when journalists are allowed to report
independently, honestly and free of all restrictions.
"I welcome the
readiness of our Russian colleagues
to develop these crucial joint mechanisms to help journalists from Georgia, Russia and other countries report freely," said Zviad
Pochkhua, President of the IAGJ, "Society inside and outside of militarized
regions need to receive information free of state propaganda as part of the
resolution of the conflict."
"The Russian Union of Journalists has frequently
expressed concerns about the media coverage of the Russian
Georgia conflict in August 2008. Now we have a serious partner for dialogue in Georgia in the
Independent Association of Georgian Journalists and we believe that our
co-operation will be useful for developing of mutual understanding between our
people as a whole and our journalists in particular," added Mikhail Fedotov,
Secretary of the Russian Union of
The IFJ, RUJ and
IAGJ call for the urgent organizing of a meeting between professional
journalists on both sides to examine the obstacles and challenges in greater
depth that can map out a concrete plan to build dialogue and long term
confidence between professional journalists.
emerged from a meeting of IFJ affiliates from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus
in Berlin to discuss the progress of
journalism since the fall of the Berlin
wall and ongoing obstacles to professional journalism in the region. Participants highlighted the poverty
conditions and lack of minimum working rights under which journalists are
forced to work, the levels of corruption in the media that force journalists to
produce stories to order, increasing government interference and control, the
on-going scandal of impunity for the killers of journalists, and the twin
impact of the financial crisis and media restructuring that is undermining the
economic model of journalist across the globe.
information contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide