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Pakistan tops another 2011 journalist death toll

January 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

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Pakistan has topped another 2011 list of countries ranked by the number of journalist killings, this one recorded by the International Federation of Journalists.

It follows being named the “deadliest country for journalists” in 2011 by the Committee to Protect Journalists in its December report.

The latest toll reported a total of 106 journalist and media worker deaths worldwide last year, in what the IFJ called “another bloody year for media”.

The organisation has written to the secretary general of the UN calling “for effective implementation of international legal instruments to combat the prevailing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists”.

The IFJ report found a total of 11 deaths in Pakistan, the same figure was also reported for Iraq and Mexico.

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IFJ meeting on media reforms in the Arab world

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is organising a meeting in Morocco, from 12 to 14 April, for its affiliates, in order to discuss “an agenda for media reforms in the Arab world and the Middle East” following the recent uprisings in the region.

“This regional conference is as important as timely given the wind of change which is sweeping through region and its potential impact on the future of journalism,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President who is attending the meeting. “Press freedom has to be part of the reforms and journalists and their unions need to make their voice heard in the debate for change.”

The conference, Wind of Change: Setting the agenda for Media Reforms, will look at the safety of journalists, press freedom and political pressure on media and reforming media laws.

See the full IFJ report here…

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IFJ: Palestinian media body to establish independent press council

The International Federation of Journalists announced at the end of last week that its affiliate in Palestine, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), is to develop a code of ethics for the region’s journalists and establish an independent press council.

This followed a meeting of Palestinian journalists and editors in Ramallah, to discuss ethics and media self-regulation. In a quote IFJ Treasurer Wolfgang Mayer said:

This is excellent news for both Palestinian Journalists and the Palestinian people who will ultimately benefit from structures that improve the ethical standards and independence of their journalism. It is also a tribute to the efforts of the new leadership of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate to set about a serious programme of reform and renewal of Palestinian journalism.

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AIUK: 100 days since ‘bloodiest ever slaughter of journalists’

On Wednesday (3 March) the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Amnesty International are joining forces for a forum marking 100 days from the Philippines massacre in November 2009.

On November 23 2009,  the bloodiest ever slaughter of journalists in a single incident occurred in Maguindanao province, southern Philippines. An entire election convoy of  63 people including 33 accompanying reporters and media personnel was ambushed, and everyone killed.

Enforced disappearances and political killings of trade union leaders, human rights activists and journalists have spiralled in the Philippines in the last decade, mainly in the name of counterinsurgency. The Philippine government has armed and employed poorly trained and unaccountable paramilitary groups to combat insurgent groups, handing powers to local politicians who have acted with impunity.

With 2010 being the self-imposed deadline of the Arroyo administration to end insurgency and with national elections set for 10 May, there are increased fears of further unlawful killings and disappearances.

Full post at this link…

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Stephen Farrell’s kidnap raises the ‘media blackout’ question: it’s time for a debate in the UK

September 10th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Comment, Newspapers, Press freedom and ethics

This week’s operation in Afghanistan to rescue New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell, during which a British soldier, Farrell’s Afghan translator (Sultan Munadi) and two civilians were killed, has provoked national debate in the UK:

“One senior Army source told the Daily Telegraph “When you look at the number of warnings this person had it makes you really wonder whether he was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier’s life.” (Telegraph.co.uk)

Many of the commenters on news stories feel very strongly that it was wrong for a journalist’s actions to lead to such tragic consequences, as Jon Slattery noted on his blog yesterday. Further still: “Members of the Armed Forces have expressed anger that he [Farrell] ignored warnings not to visit the site of an air strike on two hijacked fuel tankers that killed scores of Taliban and innocent villagers,” the Telegraph reported. Others defend the role of journalists in Afghanistan: for example, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists.

This tragic incident also raised another issue, that of media silence. Today a special report by Joe Strupp on Editor&Publisher questions whether media blackouts are appropriate when reporters are kidnapped in war zones. It’s an excellent overview of recent events, that looks back at the case of another New York Times journalist, David Rohde – the paper managed to keep news of his kidnap off Wikipedia until his escape seven months later.

The question of media blackout is one Journalism.co.uk has raised in the past. In January, we reported on the silence surrounding the kidnap of the Telegraph’s Colin Freeman and José Cendon in Somalia. We had been asked not to report on the case by the Telegraph and the UK Foreign Office when the pair went missing at the end of 2008. The ban was lifted when they were released.

However, as we reported, some information was published before the blackout request was made clear: the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released information relating to the journalists’ kidnap on November 26 2008 and Roy Greenslade subsequently blogged about it at Guardian.co.uk – the post was removed but it was still captured in the RSS feed.

It’s a complex issue that Strupp raises in his E&P article:

“With Rohde’s escape, a major debate ignited in and out of the journalism community about how responsible the coordinated secret had been. Was this a breach of journalistic ethics, sitting on a story for so long mainly because a colleague was involved?”

Strupp quotes Edward Wasserman, a journalism professor at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, who echoed claims of other critics, that the Times and similar news outlets would not do the same for a non-journalist: “Some people are in a position to implore the press for restraint better than others”.

It is a debate we need to have in the UK too: the London-based Frontline Club would be an ideal venue in which to hold a discussion with representatives from the UK foreign office, press freedom and safety organisations and news organisations raising the reasons for and against media blackouts. The practicalities of enforcement also need to be discussed. We understand that such an idea is in the pipeline, so we’ll keep you posted.

Please do share links to existing debate online.

In the meantime, here is a link to an item on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme, featuring Frontline Club founder and cameraman (and former soldier) Vaughan Smith and the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen discussing the Stephen Farrell case.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8247000/8247681.stm

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European Federation of Journalists says Berlusconi ‘putting press freedom to the sword with legal vendetta against media’

September 1st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal, Media releases

Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi ‘has stepped over a line by trying to stifle embarrassing but legitimate journalism at both home and abroad,’ the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has said in a statement:

“On 28 August, Mr. Berlusconi sued the daily La Repubblica simply for having publicly asked him ten questions. At the same time, the daily Il Giornale owned by the Berlusconi family is attacking the catholic paper Avvenire. Moreover, Mr. Berlusconi is suing French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, and reports say his lawyers are looking into the possibility to sue British papers – including the ones owned by his former ‘friend’ Rupert Murdoch.”

Full release at this link…

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The @press_freedom timeline – tracking threats to journalism around the globe

In December, Journalism.co.uk launched a page, and subsequently a Twitter service (@press_freedom), to track violations of freedom of expression around the world.

This week we’ve added a few more sources to the Dipity timeline. Headlines from the Index on Censorship, Global Voices Online and Global Voices Advocacy and the International Journalists’ Network will now be included, along with those from the original organisations – Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, the Frontline Blog, and ourselves.

Visit the page here: http://www.journalism.co.uk/5/articles/533032.php and please re-tweet it to raise awareness for the ill-treatment of fellow journalists and bloggers around the world, prevented from doing their job. Finally please do get in touch with suggestions for the page, or potential stories for Journalism.co.uk: judith at journalism.co.uk or laura at journalism.co.uk.

Recent press freedom updates:

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IFJ calls on Afghanistan government to protect journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has asked the government of Afghanistan ‘to set model standards for democracy if it wants upcoming elections in the country to be fair’, the organisation states in a release.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White spoke at  the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association national assembly in Kabul at the weekend. He said:

“The political community and the government in particular must demonstrate a commitment to democracy by setting model standards when it comes to treatment of media. We need less pressure, more useful information and a wider recognition that pluralism bolstered by a free media system is key to helping citizens exercise their right to vote at election time.”

Full release at this link…

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IFJ: 39 journalists and media workers forced to leave Iranian news agency

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) this week issued a statement voicing ‘deep concern over continuing harassment of media in Iran amid signs of growing opposition from independent journalists to censorship and manipulation in the country’s mainstream media.’

The organisation reports that, according to its affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ),  the ‘conservative’ Iranian news agency, Fars News, has sacked or forced resignations of 39 journalists and media workers: ‘a number of them in recent weeks following clashes with management over the agency’s editorial line.’

“There is evidence of strong pressure on independent journalism from outside and inside the newsroom. Even some media owners inside the profession are bullying their journalists who refuse to toe the official line. Journalists are arrested, sacked or forced to resign for standing up for ethical journalism,” said Aidan White, IFJ general secretary, in the IFJ statement.

Full statement at this link…

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Essential journalism links for students

June 30th, 2009 | 9 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Training

This list is doing the rounds under the headline 100 Best Blogs for Journalism Students… and we’re not on it. Nope, not even a smidgeon of link-love for poor old Journalism.co.uk there.

The BachelorsDegreeOnline site appears to be part of e-Learners.com, but it’s not clear who put the list together. Despite their omission of our content and their rather odd descriptions (e.g: Adrian Monck: ‘Adrian Monck writes this blog about how we inform ourselves and why we do it’), we admit it is a pretty comprehensive list; excellent people and organisations we feature on the site, our blog roll and Best of Blogs mix – including many UK-based ones. There were also ones we hadn’t come across before.

In true web 2.0 self-promotional style, here are our own links which any future list-compilers might like to consider as helpful links for journalism students:

And here are some blogs/sites also left off the list which immediately spring to mind as important reading for any (particularly UK-based) journalism students:

Organisations

  • Crikey.com: news from down under that’s not Murdoch, or Fairfax produced.
  • Press Review Blog (a Media Standards Trust project) – it’s a newbie, but already in the favourites.
  • StinkyJournalism: it’s passionate and has produced many high-profile stories

Individuals

  • CurryBet – Martin Belam’s links are canny, and provocative and break down the division between tech and journalism.
  • Malcolm Coles – for SEO tips and off-the-beaten track spottings.
  • Dave Lee – facilitating conversations journalists could never have had in the days before blogs.
  • Marc Vallee – photography freedom issues from the protest frontline.
  • FleetStreetBlues: an anonymous industry insider with jobs, witty titbits and a healthy dose of online cynicism.
  • Sarah Hartley previously as above, now with more online strategy thrown in.
  • Charles Arthur – for lively debate on PR strategy, among other things

Writing this has only brought home further the realisation that omissions are par for the course with list-compilation, but it does inspire us to do our own 101 essential links for global online journalists – trainees or otherwise. We’d also like to make our list inclusive of material that is useful for, but not necessarily about, journalists: MySociety for example.

Add suggestions below, via @journalismnews or drop judith at journalism.co.uk an email.

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