Euskalduna Declaration: Journalism, War and Civil Rights


<center>Journalism, War and Civil Rights:

International Debate on the Threat to Democracy Posed

By the War on Civil Liberties, Intolerance and Media Populism</center>

<center>Bilbao, Spain, April 2-3, 2005</center>

<center>Euskalduna Declaration</center>

The participants at the IFJ Conference Journalism, War and Civil Liberties, held in Bilbao on April 2-3rd 2005,

Believing that respect for human rights and democracy are the benchmarks of civilised society,

Rejecting the message that fundamental rights can be sacrificed to fight terrorism,

Insisting that respect for free expression, independent journalism and the people’s right to know are core rights that provide essential safeguards for the exercise of democracy,

Convinced that attacks on independent journalism add significantly to the weakening of civil liberties and attachment to democratic values across the world,

Noting that concerns over security and terrorism have led many democratic states to enact laws and regulations that undermine many of the minimum standards of set out in the 1948 UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Concerned that we are witnessing the construction of a global registration and surveillance infrastructure in which people around the world, and journalists in particular, are registered, their travel tracked globally, and their electronic communications and transactions monitored,

Further concerned that many government actions in the name of security are encouraging fear and anxiety in society and leading to new forms of intolerance that are being exploited by ruthless and unscrupulous political and social forces,


1. That governments must not sacrifice civil liberties in the defence of public safety except in the face of clear and evident dangers,

2. That laws, hastily prepared and enacted in the immediate aftermath of September 11, should be repealed wherever they are in violation of fundamental rights and freedoms,

3. That forms of international co-operation on security issues must not lead to a global mechanism for surveillance, command and social control of society at large,

4. That media need more than ever to be active in the scrutiny of the actions of government,

5. That all restrictions on journalists’ freedom of movement, pressure on them to reveal sources of information, and manipulation of media by political leaders on security issues are unacceptable,

6. That independent journalism’s vital role in investigating and exposing the impact of changes in national and global security policy on society at large is crucial to the future of democratic society,

7. That the IFJ should launch its updated report on Journalism, Civil Liberties and the War on Terrorism for Press Freedom Day 2005 and should, at the same time, launch a new global campaign against all restrictions on the right to report and for the restoration of pluralism, press freedom and open government as core values of democratic society.

3 April, 2005