Tag Archives: dangerous countries

‘Silencing the messenger is all too often the name of the game’: Mark Austin speaks at St Bride’s

The address given by ITV News at Ten presenter Mark Austin at St Bride’s Church yesterday (Wednesday), for the service to commemorate journalists who have died while covering conflicts across the world, has been published online.

He opened by talking about his own recent travels with a cameraman to Mogadishu in Somalia, and the “considerable risk” faced. He said the need to resort to protection from armed men “to watch our backs every step of the way” was a cause of “considerable sadness, and in a sense, guilt”.

Sadness, because of what it says about what has happened to our trade. Where once the neutrality and independence of the media was widely recognised and respected, now it’s clear journalists are being specifically targeted or sought out by those who fear the truth emerging. It’s no longer enough to blame the messenger, it seems. Silencing the messenger is all too often the name of the game now. And guilt because of the glaring inequality that now exists in journalism. I can insist on that security in Somalia, I am insured and have the backup of a large organisation with considerable resources and which makes safety a priority. But by and large the journalists we should be thinking about and honouring tonight have no such protection . They are the local reporters and photographers and freelancers in places like Somalia, who put their lives on the line every single day.

See his full address here.

CPJ: Call for freedom for detained journalists after releases from Libya and Iran

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the latest release of foreign journalists being detained in Iran and Libya “is a very positive development”, but repeated its call for the release of others.

Yesterday it was confirmed that Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz was released after being detained in Syria and then deported to Iran, while four journalists detained in Libya last month, including a British freelancer, were also released this week. Details of the whereabouts of a fifth journalist reported to have been detained in Libya at the same time, UK-based photographer Anton Hammerl, remain unknown.

“We are relieved that these journalists are free. It is now time for the Iranian and Libyan authorities to review the cases of dozens of journalists who remain imprisoned mainly for attempting to report on historic developments in the Middle East and North Africa,” said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

According to the CPJ Iran, together with China, is the world’s top jailer of journalists with at least 34 in prison.

Journalists in parts of Mexico advised to wear body armour and helmets

Journalists in dangerous areas of Mexico have been advised to take extra security measures, including the wearing of body armour and helmets, according to a report by the Times of India.

The article claims that Mexico’s journalist association has adopted a new “security protocol” regarding reporting in the Chihuahua state of Mexico, named the nation’s most dangerous place to practice journalism by the Center for Journalism and Public Ethics. The new protocol is reportedly based on measures outlined by Mexico’s Human Rights Commission.

The measures recommended by the State Human Rights Commission for reporters in the US border region is included in a new guide handbook, which details other safety advice such as waiting for security forces to arrive at a crime scene first, and to devise escape routes by car for when situations deteriorate.

This follows the news last week that four journalists were reportedly kidnapped, and later released, by a drugs gang after covering a protest outside a prison in the Mexican state of Durango.

See the full post here…

Three of four kidnapped journalists freed in Mexico

Three journalists thought to have been kidnapped in Mexico have been freed according to national reports, while one remains missing.

Journalism.co.uk reported on industry calls for the safe release of four journalists who went missing on Monday after covering a demonstration taking place outside a prison.

Police have now reportedly announced that two cameramen, Javier Canales and Alejandro Hernandez, were freed over the weekend while another journalist, Hector Gordoa, was freed on Friday. It remains unclear whether the three men were released by their captors or rescued by security forces.

Reporters Without Borders said the country is one of the deadliest in the world for journalists.

We are very relieved to learn to learn that cameramen Jaime Canales of TV Milenio and Alejandro Hernández of Televisa have been freed and our thoughts are with reporter Oscar Solís of El Vespertino, who is still being held. The war between the drug cartels and the authorities is wreaking havoc in Mexico and journalists are being targeted with increasing frequency. Those responsible for killing journalists take advantage of the prevailing impunity, which is fuelling the violence.

A total of 67 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000 and 11 have gone missing since 2003. In the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Mexico was ranked 137th out of 175 countries.