International coalition supporting local initiatives to protect journalists' safety unites media community, including WAN-IFRA
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum are delighted to support the International Friends of Media Alliance on Safety, a new coalition that will work to protect journalists in Pakistan.
"Pakistan is a complex media environment and to end the killings and violence against journalists, a concerted effort is needed from all players in the country's media, state and civil society," said Cherilyn Ireton, Executive Director of the World Editors Forum.
The international alliance of over a dozen global media defence organisations will back local media and journalist support groups, united under the Pakistan Coalition of Media on Safety.
The partnership was the result of a two-day international conference on the safety of journalists that culminated Thursday with the offer promise of unified support to Pakistan's embattled media.
Research by media watchdog Intermedia Pakistan, in collaboration with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, found that 90 journalists have been murdered in the country since 2000 - with at least 70 murders taking place in the last five years alone. Hundreds more journalists have been attacked, injured, kidnapped, arrested and intimidated.
With the exception of the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, there have been no prosecutions or convictions in relation to any of these cases, with a culture of impunity devastating the media landscape.
"The establishment of a national alliance is a big step forward in articulating a unified plan of action to stop the impunity and killings," said Adnan Rehmat, Executive Director at Intermedia Pakistan. "It is important that the international coalition mobilises with the right kind of support to make a difference on the ground, and in saving lives."
Pakistan is one of the pilot countries for the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists
The UN Plan aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers and to strengthen peace, democracy and development worldwide. A broad consortium of global media actors, including WAN-IFRA, was involved in consultations for the Plan.
Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, one of the co-organisers of the conference, said: "Pakistan is approaching the 100 mark for journalist deaths. One is too many, but 100 are 100 times too many. The formation of the coalition sends a strong message to the perpetrators that the days of impunity are numbered."
WAN-IFRA brings a network of global members to the alliance. "The formation of the coalition is a positive step and allows the international media community to support the development and implementation of a road map to end the killings," said Ms Ireton.
Other members of the global alliance include the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), Article 19, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Freedom House (FH), International News Safety Institute (INSI), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Media Support (IMS), UNESCO, International Press Institute (IPI), Internews Network, International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Amnesty International (AI), Fojo Institute, and the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC).