As we approach the year anniversary of the launch of the A Day Without News? campaign, we look back at what we have achieved with your support and the collaboration of the existing organizations that work tirelessly to support journalists.
When we launched A Day Without News? in February 2013, we set three objectives:
- To draw sharper attention to the growing numbers of journalists who have been killed and injured in armed conflict, in some cases as a result of direct targeting by the belligerents.
At launch, A DayWithout News? reached a truly remarkable number of people – an audience of approximately 120 million – through social media, print, radio and broadcast network via the support of our media colleagues around the world. Many thousands of supporting tweets, articles and posts came from around the globe, including The White House, Number 10 Downing Street and a special video from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
- To develop a public diplomacy, institutional and legal agenda to combat this more effectively.
Our strategy laid out by our advisor Sir Daniel Bethlehem was to approach and lobby key members of the UN Security Council to add teeth to and to improve legal protections for journalists. We met with both the UK UN Ambassador and his team in New York and Stephen Pomper, Special Assistant to the President and Beth Van Schaack, Special Adviser to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues of The US State Department in Washington.
We suggested that, during their respective presidencies of the UN Security Council, they add to their agenda the need to adopt a motion to discuss the protection of journalists and debate the strengthening of resolution 1738. Our lobbying paid off.
As a result of our meetings, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the protection of journalists on July 17, 2013. A Security Council Report stated, “This was the first time the Council considered this issue in a separate meeting since the adoption of resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists on 23 December 2006.”
Further to this and to our delight, on November 26th at 1pm the UN General assembly adopted a resolution on journalists’ safety; this is a significant and important step towards ending impunity and follows on from our earlier success during the summer
The new Resolution states, “The General Assembly resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations and underlines the important role played by all news providers by stating that “journalism is continuously evolving to include inputs from media institutions, private individuals and a range of organizations that seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, online as well as offline.”
It also underlines states’ obligations to prevent violence and to bring perpetrators to justice, by urging “Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction, and to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”
- To investigate and collect evidence in support of prosecutable cases in this area.
The third, and without doubt the hardest, of our three objectives, but we are now working towards a collaboration with a leading US University and their schools of Law and Journalism to initiate a 'clinic' that will see them combining their resources to uncover evidence and build a case that might be taken to the international and/or national tribunals or courts to prosecute those responsible for targeting journalists.
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