Journalists deserve better protection: paper

ABU DHABI: A UAE paper has said that it is highly disturbing to note that over 60 journalists around the world were killed in 2014 while on the job or because of their work.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, said that the past three years have proved the deadliest for journalists since it began keeping track more than two decades ago.

“What is even more disgusting is the fact that attacks on professional journalists have grown more barbaric and kidnappings have soared,” said The Gulf Today in its editorial on Thursday.

While the CPJ’s count of journalists killed in Syria this year is down from 29 last year, the increasing threats faced are causing local journalists to flee and international journalists to stay away, while the country itself has become “an information black hole.” United Nations reports said that in the past 10 years, more than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed. The majority of them are not war correspondents.

“Attacks on media professionals are often also perpetrated in non-conflict situations by organised crime groups, militia, security personnel, and even local police, making local journalists among the most vulnerable”, added the paper.

What adds to the anguish is that abuses against media professionals remain uninvestigated and unpunished. This impunity, as UN officials point out, perpetuates the cycle of violence against journalists, media workers and citizen journalists. The resulting self-censorship deprives society of information and further impacts press freedom.

Professional journalists literally play with lives while on duty to share news and information that so many rely on. Journalists have the right to work free from any threat of violence. It is the duty of various governments to ensure the right to freedom of opinion and expression for all.

“The killing of journalists directly impacts international efforts to promote peace, security, and sustainable development. Every single journalist should be protected while on duty, as they are involved in a noble task of disseminating information, which is crucial to any rational society,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.