Sunday, 4 September 2011

Ten years after 9/11 – Journalism and the war on terror

As the world prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington, I am thinking of its impact on my profession and my colleagues.
These strikes have been followed by the so-called “war on terror” and its legacy on journalism is enormous.

On the plus side, coverage of foreign policy and global conflicts has increased significantly, but the new terror laws have also deeply affected freedom of speech and the way journalists can report events.  Journalists and media staff have also been among some of the war on terror most prominent victims.

The 9/11 attacks unleashed a decade of conflict and tragedy across the globe. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; terrorist strikes in Great Britain, Spain, Indonesia and Turkey; state-sanctioned torture in the name of democracy; and a range of unprecedented laws and policies that have enfeebled civil liberties and human rights protection everywhere.

The International Federation of Journalists ( IFJ) - the world's largest organisation of journalists - and its regional organisation the European Federation of Journalists, are holding a two-day conference in Brussels on September 10th and 11th to examine the legacy of 9/11 and the terror laws on journalism.

The conference entitled "10 years after 9/11: Journalism in the shadow of terror laws", will bring together journalists, human rights advocates and campaigners, trade unionists, academics and politicians to discuss this crisis for free speech and for press freedom, and the risks for journalists covering conflicts.

Says IFJ: “In every corner of the world, journalism has been diminished by the shadow of terrorism. Unscrupulous politicians have taken advantage of public anxiety and, in the name of counter-terrorism, governments have introduced laws, forms of surveillance and monitoring of peoples' lives that increase the power of the state. Journalists have been subject to restrictions on their freedom of movement. Spies have infiltrated newsrooms. Telephones have been tapped. Prosecutions have been launched to discover sources of information.
At the same time there have been numerous incidents of secret governmental co-operation to increase covert surveillance of citizens travelling from country to country and, worse, to sanction and condone the detention and torture of people alleged to be implicated in terrorist activities.”

Speakers include:
Mary Robinson, Chairperson of Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Martin Scheinin, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism
Sami Al Haj, Al Jazeera journalist imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for six years
• Moaiad Al Lami, President Iraqi Journalists’ Union
• Jason Parkinson, UK photographers’ campaign “I’m a photographer, not a terrorist”
The IFJ Federation represents around 600.000 members in more than 100 countries.

No comments:

Post a Comment