Late last month marked the one year anniversary of ADWN?, a campaign launched by a group within the media and photojournalism communities to raise awareness of the risks faced by journalists and photojournalists in war zones on a daily basis.
Led by Aidan Sullivan, Vice President at Getty Images and founder of the Ian Parry Scholarship, A Day Without News? launched on 22 February 2013 – the first anniversary of the deaths of legendary correspondent Marie Colvin and photojournalist Remi Ochlik in Syria.
As well as raising awareness of the vital role correspondents and photojournalists play and the risks they face when reporting from war zones, the group also set out to develop institutional and legal agendas to stop journalists from being deliberately targeted.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has estimated that in the last year alone 70 journalists and media professionals were killed doing their job, with Syria being the most dangerous country to operate from, accounting for 28 deaths.
Following the ADWN? launch last year, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the 17th of July 2013 around the protection of journalists, highlighting it was the first time it had considered this issue in a separate meeting since the adoption of resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists on the 23rd of December 2006.
Furthermore on the 26th of November 2013, the UN General assembly adopted a resolution on journalists’ safety; a significant and important step towards ending impunity. The resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations and underlines the important role played by all news providers.
Sullivan comments: “In just one year, we have played an important part in raising awareness, and having the UN pass a resolution will further strengthen the security of our colleagues. As we reach the first anniversary of the campaign launch, we will continue fighting for justice. 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.”
Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Getty Images and CPJ board member added: “It’s encouraging to see so many industry leaders step up in support of press freedom and safety. However, sadly, the latest CPJ report shows that too many journalists still face dire consequences when reporting from conflict zones. The troubling statistics are a call to action for all of us who believe in the importance of journalism and protecting the safety of those who put themselves in harm’s way to ensure that critical stories are told.”
Supporters of the campaign include renowned members of the media and senior government officials who have pledged to show support, such as:
• Brent Stirton, Photojournalist, Reportage by Getty Images
• Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
• Don McCullin, Photojournalist
• James Nachtwey, Photojournalist
• Jonathan Klein, Co-founder / Chief Executive Officer, Getty Images
• Lynsey Addario, Photojournalist
• Sir Daniel Bethelem, QC
• Tom Stoddart, Photojournalist, Reportage by Getty Images
• David Friend, Editor Creative Development, Vanity Fair
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