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30 Nov 2012
November has been a month of real transition at INSI, with the departure of our founding Director and President and the arrival of a new team to lead INSI into its second decade.
We know there has never been a greater need for an organisation such as ours, dedicated to the safety of journalists around the world. We deliver safety advice and training to those who need it most, while working closely with those who make the decisions to send journalists into dangerous and potentially hostile places.
Sadly, as we look ahead to the work we need to do, the reality is that we are heading towards the darkest year on record for the safety of journalists.That was the sombre and compelling message delivered by INSI to the United Nations Interagency meeting on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity earlier this month in Vienna.
As we approach the final weeks of 2012, we are aware of 121 colleagues who have died or been killed because of their work so far this year. Fourteen of those were killed in November. And yet, this dark month coincided with what appears to be a concerted movement by the international community to work together to do something to change this dire situation. Hence, INSI was pleased to play a role in the Vienna meeting and take part in the discussions there with different UN agencies, member nations and non-governmental organisations about how this approach might improve the safety of journalists.
As part of this plan, INSI has been tasked with collating a publication outlining what measures are being taken to tackle the scourge of insecurity facing journalists: what training and advice is available, what news rooms are providing their employees, what measures support groups and national governments have in place to protect journalists and help them recognise and mitigate the risks they face, and what journalists are doing themselves in this area. One of the key issues we will be looking at within this study is what is being done and what is not being done to ensure the killers of our colleagues and friends are brought to justice. Because in nine out of 10 cases where journalists are murdered, there killers are not brought to justice.
One such example of this wide-ranging issue of impunity is in the Philippines, where three years after 32 media workers were massacred at Maguindanao, there have been no charges made against those responsible for the killings. The anniversary of this event gave rise to the International Day to End Impunity, which INSI marked with colleagues in Vienna and through the posting of this blog on our website.
Earlier this month, INSI attended News Xchange, the annual global conference for broadcast media. INSI's Hannah Storm was honoured to be able to produce a panel discussion on women journalists and the different values they bring to their work at the event which took place this year in Barcelona. The decision to have a discussion of this nature came about as a direct result of INSI’s “No Woman’s Land – On the Frontlines with Female Reporters”, the first book dedicated to the safety of women journalists. The unique publication made headlines when it was launched in London in March, and we are looking forward to a second launch in The Hague next week.
It was at News Xchange that INSI marked a key moment in its history, as our founding Director Rodney Pinder stood down. Deputy Director Hannah Storm was named his successor at INSI’s 9th Annual General Meeting, on November 14th, and took up the role with immediate effect. INSI´s founding Honorary President Chris Cramer also announced his retirement. Richard Sambrook, Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University and a former BBC News executive, takes his place.We offer our heartfelt thanks to Rodney and Chris for their instrumental work in getting the issue of news safety on the agenda in news rooms around the world and we are extremely grateful for the guidance and direction that they have given INSI since it was launched in 2003, as journalist casualties began to rise around the globe.
Even as we have been experiencing great change within INSI, we have continued to support our colleagues around the world. This month INSI has continued to issue safety and security updates for media workers, collated from up-to-date information provided by our contacts on the ground. Our latest update covered the deteriorating situation in Goma. We are extending our database of contacts around the world and if you would like to contribute to these updates, please get in touch.
This month, INSI has also completed the second phase of our safety training course for journalists in Brazil: the Training of Trainers, in which 11 journalists were equipped with the skills to provide safety training to their colleagues. The project, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was a joint initiative with Abraji, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism and the following unions: Sindicato dos Jornalistas do Município do Rio de Janeiro, Sindicato das Empresas de Radiodifusão, Sindicato das Empresas de Jornais e Revistas. INSI’s consultant in the field also produced up-to-date travel advice from Rio de Janiero. To keep up to date with INSI's training projects click here.