World: Governments Urged to do More to Ensure Journalists’ Safety
By George Okore
The high number of journalists and media workers killed in 2012 is due to systematic failure by governments and the United Nations to fulfill their international obligations to protect and enforce journalists’ basic right to life.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has released a report saying that 2012 has been one of the bloodiest years for journalists and media workers after recording 121 killings in targeted attacks and cross fire incidents. According to annual IFJ report published annually on journalists and media workers killed in work-related incidents since 1990, 121 journalists and media staff lost their lives in targeted attacks, bomb attacks and other cross-fire incidents this year, up from 107 recorded in 2011.
This constant finding in IFJ annual reports brings into sharp focus need for genuine measures to protect journalists and punish those responsible for violence against media. Last month, IFJ urged accountability for violence targeting media at UN Inter-Agency’s conference in
In the same month, journalists and media practitioners from Eastern African region heard that they are operating in a climate of fear with threats to their personal safety. A consultative meeting on journalists’ safety in
As was before, the meeting found that safety of journalists and media practitioners in
Police spokesman Erick Kiraithe promised Kenyan journalists covering upcoming general elections will be provided with utmost safety while Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) Chairman Oloo Janak observed that most journalists are not provided with adequate safety gear and kitting. He urged media owners to provide insurance cover, more so to the numerous correspondents and freelancers.
Back to IFJ report, 30 journalists died in accidents or of illness while they were at work in 2012, against 20 last year. “The death toll for 2012 is another indictment of governments which pay lip service to the protection of journalists but have consistently failed to stop their slaughter “It is no wonder that these sky-high numbers of killed journalists have become a constant feature in the last decade during which the usual reaction from governments and the United Nations has been a few words of condemnation, a cursory inquiry and a shrug of indifference,” says Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
As of 31 December, IFJ recorded fearsome information on killings of journalists and media staff in 2012. During the period under review, 121 journalists were victims of targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents. Another 30 scribes were victims of accidental and illness related deaths.
The deadliest region in 2012 was