Protection of Journalists in Conflict situations

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Reprinted with gracious permission from Translatio, the newsletter from FIT

On 27 May H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza spoke during the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Journalists in Conflict situations. As he is the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, his words are of special importance to the international debate on the dangers affecting journalists as they do their work of bringing the world information. The speech deplored the killing of hundreds of journalists over the last decade and the wounding of many more.H.E. Archbishop Auza

His Excellency declared that there is “no excuse for parties in conflict not to respect and protect journalists”. He discussed both the world’s need for verifiable information and the dangers inherent in providing it, pointing to “the grave danger that a party or parties in conflict would specifically target journalists faithful to their duty of objective reporting”.

While he was clear that it is the responsibility of both governments and media organizations to protect journalists in conflict zones, he also cautioned the working journalists to “exercise tact, especially in situations in which the duty to objective reporting seems to come into conflict with respect for the cultural values and religious beliefs of peoples involved in the conflict”. His speech ended with a strong admonition for those attending the open debate: “May the appreciation we have for journalists’ valuable work transform itself into greater efforts to protect them better in armed conflicts.” Archbishop Auza’s closing challenge is a perfect reflection of FIT’s work in assisting linguists in conflict situations.

This work is conducted together with our strategic partners Red T, the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI). More recently, our coalition has been joined by Critical Link International, the International Council for the Development of Community Interpreting (CLI). Our latest action to help our linguist colleagues worldwide is an Open Letter to the Holy See, an effort that is being spearheaded by Red T and AIIC. FIT’s contribution to the coalition’s work is carried out through its permanent committee on human rights. This work will continue until the need no longer exists, either by the presence of safeguards and international conventions or, ideally, with the ushering in of a world that knows only peace. Until that time, it is our professional responsibility to participate fully.

Sven Borei,

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