KARACHI: Delegates at the International Media Conference 2015 issued on Sunday a Karachi declaration, calling upon the government of Pakistan to respect as well as implement all international instruments on the protection of journalists, including binding and nonbinding resolutions, covenants and declarations of the United Nations.
Journalists, editors and media representatives from Pakistan, international and regional organizations met at the International Media Conference held in Karachi which was organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day.
Journalists from 15 countries representing International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and other journalist unions took part and helped finalise the declaration. The conference was also attended by Federal Executive Council (FEC) members and editors and journalists from different newspapers.
They delegates recalled that there was a high number of violations against journalists in Pakistan, in particular the killing of journalists, which has reached over 100 in the last decade. Pakistan has been identified as one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world.
The demanded that instruments on the protection of journalists be implemented within national laws and that the justice system be overhauled to end impunity.
The declaration urged the authorities to establish rights for families of killed journalists for compensation, directly or through media institutions, and the setting up of a solidarity fund for the victims.
Media organisations, they said, have a duty of care and moral responsibility for the safety of all their journalists, in particular news gatherers, staff or freelancers, to provide hostile-environment safety training and equipment, medical care and life insurance.
The declaration also noted that media editors have a responsibility to systematically publicise crimes against journalists, investigate them as thoroughly as possible and expose any failure of government to make the perpetrators account for their crimes.
In the declaration, primacy of quality training and education for journalists, was acknowledged.
It was declared that, in view of journalists being killed every year while carrying out their jobs, most of those incidents of violence remain uninvestigated and unpunished, and that urgent action is required by authorities to put an end to them.
Place the issue of the safety and protection of journalists, at every opportunity, on the agenda of national, regional and international institutions; To work with the IFJ at international level, in particular through the relevant structures of UNESCO, the United Nations and the Human Rights monitoring mechanisms in the United Nations system; To seek the help of the IFJ’s expertise to establish detailed database of all the killed journalists with the view to take legal action whenever possible; Develop amongst its unions and members a culture of being responsible for their own safety and a duty of care towards each other; Continue monitoring the safety of journalists .
Finally, the participants expressed their appreciation and thanks to the Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan, for his efforts to help organise the Karachi International Media Conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015.