A year since the launch of a worldwide campaign to highlight the risks journalists and photographers face when working in conflict zones, there's still more to do, says Aidan Sullivan of A Day Without News?
On 26 November 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution condemning all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations.
The resolution urged “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”.
The move came just eight months after the launch of the A Day Without News? campaign, led by Aidan Sullivan of Getty Images. He says the international campaign’s goal is to “draw sharper attention to the growing number of journalists who have been killed and injured in armed conflict, in some cases as a result of direct targeting by the belligerents; to develop a public diplomacy, institutional and legal agenda to combat this more effectively; and to investigate and collect evidence in support of prosecutable cases in this area”.
As the campaign celebrates its first anniversary and remembers journalist Marie Colvin and freelance photographer Rémi Ochlik, who were killed on 22 February 2012 in Homs, Syria, Sullivan says there is still more to be done. “Currently, we are working towards a collaboration with a leading US university to initiate a ‘clinic’, designed to uncover evidence of targeted attacks against journalists in conflict zones. We hope this information will build a case that can be taken to the international and national tribunals or courts to prosecute those responsible for targeting journalists.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that 70 journalists and media professionals were killed in 2013. Syria was the most dangerous country, accounting for 28 deaths. Reporters Without Borders also estimates that between 30 and 40 media workers are currently being held hostage in the country.