Europe’s public broadcasters call for a coordinated approach to guarantee journalist safety
Thursday, April 26th, 2007

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) today, emphasised the need for greater coordination between all parties involved in conflict and post-conflict situations, in order to ensure rapid action, a coordinated strategy and optimal media work in a dangerous environment.

Speaking at a conference in Essen, Germany, on media in peace building and conflict prevention, organised by Deutsche Welle with the support of the EU, UNESCO, IFJ and the European Broadcasting Union, EBU Secretary General, Jean Réveillon, said: ” Not only do we need the support of governments but we also need donors, international agencies and non- governmental bodies to recognise the potential of media in conflict resolution and to evaluate what we can do together to counter the growing danger faced by journalists and their co-workers in conflict situations”.

Mr Réveillon stressed that public service broadcasters are renowned for their commitment to democracy and to bringing independent and unbiased information out of conflict zones anytime and anywhere. But he said journalists must not become victims of their own profession.

As a most recent example, the EBU campaigned together with the World Broadcasting Unions for the release of Alan Johnston, a BBC correspondent in Gaza, currently in his seventh week of abduction. World Broadcasters continue to appeal for his unharmed release.

“The EBU and its members are committed to cooperating with all actors and will mobilise its resources also through the World Broadcasting Unions to make progress on the best common plan of action” he said.

The conference takes place just a few weeks after the release of a global enquiry by the Brussels-based International News Safety Institute (INSI) which found that 1,000 news media personnel around the world have been killed in the past ten years trying to report the news - an average of almost two deaths every week.

The EBU campaigned strongly with the WBU, the International News Safety Institute and the International Federation of Journalists, for the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on journalist safety. The resolution, which was finally adopted in December 2006 after two years of campaigning, urges States to do their utmost to prevent crimes against journalists and to investigate all crimes committed against media professionals.

The EBU also regularly trains media professionals to face potential dangers through a Hostile Environment Safety Training course (HEST).

(Source: EBU)