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UN mulls means to better protect journalists

France and Guatemala will compile a list of concrete proposals to protect journalists, especially in war zones, the French UN ambassador said after a meeting on the matter.



New York: France and Guatemala will compile a list of concrete proposals to protect journalists, especially in war zones, the French UN ambassador said after a meeting on the matter.

Gerard Araud said yesterday that 76 members of the media have been killed on the job since the beginning of the year, particularly in Mali, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan, and that a number of others have been abducted.

"We will look at what is feasible, effective and acceptable," said Araud.

Ideas raised at the United Nations meeting -- presided over by France and Guatemala -- are to be compiled in a document.

The gathering was attended by various envoys to the UN Security Council. Arnaud is the panel`s December chair.

The director-general of NGO Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, proposed creating a group of independent experts to monitor compliance by UN member states on their obligations vis-à-vis the press.

He also suggested that the International Criminal Court designate the act of targeting journalists a crime against humanity.

Protecting reporters from violence is inherent in multiple international accords including the Geneva Conventions and UN resolutions, but is not explicit, several participants said.

According to Britain`s UN ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, "the murder of journalists is the most extreme form of censorship."

"The UN needs to get involved ... We need to find ways to better implement these international frameworks," he said.

Last month, the UN General Assembly declared November 2 an international day to protect journalists.

It marks the same day that French radio journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were killed by militants in Mali this year.

Anne-Marie Capomaccio, the director of the Washington office of Reporters Without Borders, also attended the meeting and denounced "the trivialising of pressure and threats" against reporters, particularly in Africa.

From Zee News

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