International News Safety Institute update: August 2012
August 24, 2012 Leave a comment
• INSI has recorded the deaths of 86 journalists and media staff so far this year, with a further 31 cases under investigation.
The relentless clashes in war-torn Syria make it the deadliest country for journalists and media workers – at least 22 news media casualties have been recorded in 2012. Many more have been injured, detained and threatened. The death toll is more than double that of the entire war in Libya last year.
This week Mika Yamamoto, an award-winning journalist for The Japan Press, was gunned down while travelling with the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo. She is the first Japanese national to be killed in the 17 month conflict, and the first Japanese female correspondent killed in conflict since INSI began keeping records 10 years ago.
In the same week, three journalists were reported missing while travelling through Syria. Bashar Fahmi, a Palestinian reporter for the U.S. Government-funded broadcaster A-Hurra, and Cüneyt Ünal, a Turkish cameraman, failed to check in with their editors on 20 August. American freelance journalist Austin Tice who contributed coverage from Syria for The Washington Post has also been reported missing. His family has voiced concerns for his welfare.
INSI has been working with its members, who include some of the world’s leading media organisations, to share and collate information that might impact on the safety of journalists and news crews covering the events there.
Those who would like more information or to speak confidentially should contact Hannah Storm +44 7766 814274 email@example.com
Earlier this week the bodies of photographers Arturo Barajas and José Antonio Aguilar Mota were found in the trunk of an abandoned car in the Michoacán region of Mexico. Reports suggest that the murders may be linked to organised crime. The dangerous conditions under which journalists in Mexico work, where impunity is rife, were highlighted earlier this month when celebrated investigative journalist Lydia Cacho was forced to flee the country after what she said were credible death threats.
• INSI published its biannual ’Killing the Messenger’ survey of news media casualties, carried out by the Cardiff School of Journalism. Research found that the worst countries for media staff after Syria were Nigeria, Brazil, Somalia, Indonesia and Mexico.
To view the report read ‘Arab Spring fuels bleak winter for news media in 2012‘
• At the end of August, INSI will be running two safety training courses in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The two day courses, which will be attended by 45 journalists, are being funded by the union of owners of radio and TV (Sindicato das Empresas de Radiodifusão do Rio de Janeiro) and the union of print newspapers and magazines (Sindicato dos donos de Jornais e Revistas do Rio de Janeiro), and are being done at the request of the union of journalists in Rio de Janeiro. Our local partner for this is ABRAJI, the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalists.
The courses will prepare the way for further safety training projects in Brazil, where dangers facing journalists are increasing as the country prepares to host the World soccer cup and the Olympics. Seven have been killed since January this year, placing Brazil third in the list of most dangerous countries this year.
• INSI Director Rodney Pinder addressed journalism students at the University of Sheffield on safety issues. The event, entitled No News is Worth Your Life: Basic Safety Principles for News Correspondents and Reporters, highlighted the resources available in terms of training and support for journalists and international moves to improve journalist safety. The symposium is the start of a longer-term programme of cooperation between INSI and the university on behalf of journalism students.
• INSI teamed up with Free Press and Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project to host two web events in reporting civil unrest in the run up to the US Conventions. The webinars featured personal stories from journalists who have been arrested and expert analysis of past events and legal cases.
The Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention are both expected to draw large numbers of protesters.
In the last year, nearly 90 people have been arrested while trying to cover the Occupy protests in the United States, and many others have faced abuse and harassment from local authorities.
• Last week marked the 1000th day of the Maguindanao Massacre in the Philippines, when 52 people, including 32 journalists, were killed in November 2009. INSI’s Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific Red Batario attended a vigil in Manila. Read his article here
• The INSI Blog, written by the INSI team and guest writers from around the world, featured an interview with a journalist from a major news organisation about her experience of the Rixos Hotel siege one year on. The blog covers a broad range of topics involving media safety and security. If you would like to write for us, please get in touch.