World Association of News Publishers

Journalists provide global prescription for fighting violence and impunity

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Journalists provide global prescription for fighting violence and impunity

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An International Media in Danger workshop that brought together journalists working in dangerous situations around the world has concluded that effective government action, solidarity within the media and ethical coverage are the keys to confronting violence and impunity.

Jointly organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America Office, and the Institute of the Americas, the March 26-29 event titled, "Different Worlds, Similar Threats," gathered 25 experienced journalists from 14 countries in La Jolla, California. The goal is to promote safe reporting and identify measures for reducing the violence and impunity affecting journalists in their respective regions.

Discussions revealed an urgent need for effective government measures to protect practicing journalists worldwide. "Today, in countries like Mexico, Honduras, Pakistan or Russia, journalists face actors and groups ready to kill them, in total impunity, simply for doing their job," said Cynthia Cárdenas, ARTICLE 19 Legal Programme Officer. "Authorities in every country around the world are responsible for guaranteeing journalists' safety and for sanctioning those who attempt to curtail their freedom of expression."

In light of the current crisis in Mexico, where a wave of violence sparked by the conflict between organised crime and government forces has cost the lives of dozens of journalists since 2006, participants issued a call for more solidarity within the profession. "Mexican journalism is undergoing one of its darkest periods," said Rodrigo Bonilla, Press Freedom Missions Manager at WAN-IFRA. "Effective mechanisms to promote solidarity and better protection for journalists are urgently needed and should be multiplied within and between each media outlet."

The presentations and workshops revealed that caution and responsibility are particularly important when exercising journalism in violent environments. "We succeeded in creating a space in which journalists were able to analyse the exercise of their profession," said Lynne Walker, Vice President of the Institute of the Americas. "Participants understood that ethical practices and a higher degree of alertness are key practices that need to be promoted within each newsroom."

Prominent journalists including Javier Darío Restrepo (Colombia), Marco Lara Klahr (Mexico), Umar Cheema (Pakistan), Elena Milashina (Russia) and Iqbal Athas (Sri Lanka), attended a range of workshops that addressed safety, legal protection and information security. Delegates also met with journalists from ZETA weekly newspaper during a one-day visit to Tijuana, Mexico, to learn first-hand the dangers facing daily newsgathering in the country.

The "Different Worlds, Similar Threats" workshop was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Freedom House, USAID and the Latin American Development Bank.


For more information, please contact:

Rodrigo Bonilla, Press Freedom Missions Manager, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 37. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Mobile: +33 6 25 87 29 13. E-mail:

Cynthia Cárdenas, Legal Program Officer, ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America Office José Vasconcelos 131 Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, México D.F. C.P.11850. Tel:  +52 55 1054 6500 ext. 107. E-mail : 

Lynne Walker, Vice-President, Institute of the Americas, 10111 N. Torrey Pines Rd.
La Jolla, CA  92037 USA. Tel:  +1 (858) 964-1712. Fax:  +1 (858) 453-2165. E-mail :



WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.


Learn more about WAN-IFRA at or through the WAN-IFRA Magazine.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 07. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2012-04-03 10:46

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...