Integrating 'Safety of Journalists' in the Curricula

Manila Bulletin, February 9, 2018 | Go to article overview

Integrating 'Safety of Journalists' in the Curricula


By Florangel Rosario Braid

A forum on this topic held yesterday at the NowPlanet Auditorium, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, sought to address a growing concern - the safety of journalists and impunity. This concern has arisen because of the rise of killings and threats facing journalists. Note these statistics: Since 1986 to 2017, there had been 156 work-related killings of journalists. In 2017, there were three work-related killings in the country. In 2015 and 2016, the Philippines, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), was next to Iraq and Syria as the most dangerous country for journalists.

The forum is one of the various activities held in various countries of the world, as part of the UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of impunity. The Plan, a framework for coordinating, developing, and improving responses to threats against journalists, presented an opportunity for inter-governmental organizations, civil society, member states, and media workers around the world.

The year 2012 happened to be the year when the number of journalists killed was among the highest in a decade. As the International Media Support (IMS) that examined the state of safety of journalists in seven countries, Defending Journalism, 2017, stated, "Pervasive impunity for people who killed, threatened, or attacked media workers meant that many journalists in countries like Mexico, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Philippines were forced to choose between self-censorship, exile, or to continue working at their peril. A large number of journalists were also imprisoned that year.

In these case studies of Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines, IMS showed how national mechanisms (such as laws, armed escorts, armored cars, relocation support, mobile phones, and other material needs) can protect journalists and address impunity. The comparative analysis of best practices in local media support, monitoring and advocacy, along with international media and freedom of expression organizations likewise made inroads towards protecting journalists.

The forum is part of the UNESCO Participation Programme being implemented by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication. Since 1980 when it was founded, it had been an active advocate for press freedom through its research, forums, publications, and training. …

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