PACIFIC ISLANDS NEWS ASSOCIATION SIGNS INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND TERRORISM

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RESOLUTION

MANILA, Philippines (May 5, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) members have helped develop an international resolution on Terrorism and the Media and PINA joined other international media organizations signing it.

The resolution stresses: "The threat of terrorism should not be used as an excuse to impose restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and of the media, or on freedom of information."

It was developed and adopted by media professionals and leading media freedom groups attending a UNESCO Conference on Media and Terrorism in Manila.

This was held to mark World Press Freedom Day, and was the main international celebration.

PINA was represented by the head of the PINA Radio Industry Group, Justin Kili (Papua New Guinea), and international award-winning editor-publisher Savea Sano Malifa (Samoa).

Other features of the Manila resolution include that:

§ Any strategy to address the threat of terrorism must promote greater respect for freedom of expression and of the media, rather than imposing restrictions on these fundamental rights;

§ The media have both a right and a duty to report fully on terrorism in the interest of the public's right to know and to promote open, informed debate about terrorism;

§ All parties to conflicts should respect the right of journalists to investigate and report freely on conflict and have maximum access to conflict areas;

§ The threat of terrorism should not be used to restrict editorial independence; protection of confidential sources; access to information held by public bodies; freedom of movement; and privacy of communications.

The full resolution reads:

"Recalling the fundamental role of the media in meeting the public's right to know, including about issues relating to terrorism;

"Condemning killing of, attacks on, threats against and harassment of journalists reporting on terrorism and conflicts;

"Concerned about the restrictions imposed on the right to freedom of expression and to freedom of information by a growing number of States in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11;

"Convinced that open public debate and the free flow of information are essential to any long-term solutions to the problems of terrorism;

"Welcoming the Charter for the Safety of Journalists Working in War Zones or Dangerous Areas, adopted by concerned organisations in Paris on 8 March 2002, and the Safety Charter, adopted in Montreal in 1992;

"Noting the Joint Message for World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2002, by Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, which recognized the importance of press freedom and freedom of expression in the fight against terrorism;

"Resolve as follows:

"Any strategy to address the threat of terrorism must promote greater respect for freedom of expression and of the media, rather than imposing restrictions on these fundamental rights;

"Right to Report on Terrorism

"The media has both a right and a duty to report fully on terrorism in the interest of the public's right to know and to promote open, informed debate about terrorism;

"All parties to conflicts should respect the right of journalists to investigate and report freely on conflict and to have maximum access to conflict areas;

"The threat of terrorism should not be used as an excuse to impose restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and of the media, or on freedom of information, and specifically on the following rights:

"· to editorial independence;

"· to protect confidential sources of information;

"· to access information held by public bodies;

"· to freedom of movement; and

"· to privacy of communications;

"Media outlets, journalists and publishers and broadcasters associations, academic institutions and other civil society organisations should take measures to enhance the capacity of the media to report professionally on terrorism and to promote tolerance, including through training and providing opportunities for discussion of ethical issues relating to reporting on terrorism;

"Safety of Journalists

"States at peace, as well as all parties to conflicts, should take effective measures to ensure that they, military forces, combatants, as well as secret and intelligence services and other officials engaged in combating terrorism, understand and respect the rights of journalists as civilians under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, as well as their right to freedom of expression;

"States should devote sufficient resources and attention to preventing attacks on journalists, to investigating such attacks when they occur and to bringing those responsible to justice without delay;

"States at peace, as well as all parties to conflicts, should never allow their agents or combatants to pose as journalists, or attempt to use journalists as agents;

"Media outlets, journalists and publishers and broadcasters associations and other civil society organisations should take measures to promote the safety of journalists reporting on conflict and terrorism, including through training, the development of safety guidelines and the provision of appropriate equipment; and

"The news media industry and the international community should consider establishing a fund to assist under-resourced media organisations and freelance journalists to have access to safety training and equipment."

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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