Doha Forum discusses safety of journalists in dangerous areas
DOHA A WORKSHOP on enforcing the recommendations of the International Conference to protect journalists in dangerous situations was held on the third day of the Doha Forum for Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future, on Tuesday.
The workshop was chaired by President of the National Committee for Human Rights (QNCHR) Dr Ali bin Smaikh al Marri.
Talking about the workshop, Marri stated that the main objective of the workshop was to implement the recommendations of the International Conference on the protection of journalists in dangerous situations which was held by QNCHR in Doha on January 22 and January 23, 2012.
Marri noted that the conference was organised in light of the increased attacks on media persons across the world, particularly in conflict zones. He added that members at the conference recommended that the protection of journalists should be on the agenda of all global and regional forums.
The recommendations stressed on holding a new global conference, which should be attended by all stakeholders, including government representatives to discuss and develop the current suggestions.
Marri pointed out that the QNCHR, in association with its other partners, will present the International Conference’s recommendations to the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations to submit them to the General body during its next session.
“This workshop aims to think about a method to enhance cooperation in order to activate these recommendations and come up with effective proposals that would help the follow-up team to develop a plan and implement it some time this year,” QNCHR president said.
“The group consists of representatives from all international organisations and local institutions who want to walk in this path,” Marri concluded.
Speaking at the workshop, Abdul Karim Boumelha, president of the International Federation for the Protection of Journalists, highlighted the significance of holding such workshops and conferences to promote the issue of journalists’ protection.
He said, “1,100 media persons were assassinated in the past 10 years, spanning 35 countries.
Around 50 journalists have been killed since the end of the last International Conference for the Protection of Journalists in dangerous situations in Doha last January.” Boumelha emphasised that “the freedom of the press and expression will not be possible where journalists face the constant threat of violence and work in a non-democratic environment.” For his part, Director of Al Jazeera News Mustafa Sawwaq said that modern media tries to give a better satellite coverage of events. “Today’s media has provided opportunities to citizens’ journalism, which is contrary to the traditional form of journalism. Citizens’ journalists have been able to convey a lot of news information to different media houses where free media actually either does not exist or is on the borderline,” Sawwaq said.
Sawwaq also said that some of the countries’ governments have tried to control this new form of media. He, however, added that these efforts would be difficult as these media tools were new technologies and were being updated all the time.
Stressing that the validity and credibility of all the news information emanating from citizens’ journalists are not always true, he advised the conventional media houses to verify each news item before publishing or airing them.
Another panelist, Hassan Rachidi, advisor at the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, said that the citizens’ journalism was a new media phenomenon.
He said that “in the near future, it will be necessary to find methods which will enable this kind of media to develop and redefine its techniques by forming new talents in the citizens’ journalism and make them work within the framework of the traditional form of news media”.