Seminar: The Challenges of Journalist Safety

2017-11-14 03:40



On the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, the Journalist Support Committee in Beirut held a seminar entitled: " Challenges of Journalist Safety: The Reality of Violations and Protection". 

UNESCO's Program Officer, Mr. George Awad, representative of Amnesty International, Ms. Sima Watling, The Association of European Journalists, Ms. Isaia Tsaousidou, and a number of media professionals have participated in the seminar.


  1. The Journalist Support Committee, Mr. Hussein Youssef

Mr. Hussein Youssef welcomed the audience in the name of the committee, and delivered a speech on the importance of this day in the Arab World, as well as a general and comprehensive glimpse of the committee's work and its importance in combating impunity in the Arab World.

Mr. Hussein also spoke about Bahrain, as a living example of Impunity, focusing on the deterioration of media freedoms in Bahrain, where more than 1250 violations was registered between 2011 till the beginning of 2017. The committee believes that one of the reasons for the aggravation of these violations is the lack of serious accountability.

  1. UNESCO, Mr. George Awad

Mr. George Awad, Program Officer, UNESCO's Regional Office, explained the role of the organization in guiding press safety. He also called for the cessation of violations and crimes against journalists. He also announced UNESCO's launch of an educational material on the safety of journalists in addition to digital protection in Arab Universities.

  1. Amnesty International, Ms. Sima Watling

Ms. Sima Watling, Amnesty International, stressed the need for states to protect all citizens without discrimination and referred to some cases of impunity in Bahrain. Ms. Sima called on the Bahraini Government for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to ensure a fair trial for all detainees under international law and standards, and to prepar prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into tortures and deaths while under custody, ensuring that all suspected perpetrators of torture or unlawful killings are held accountable and that all victims of human rights violations are fully compensated.

  1. Association of European Journalists, Ms. Isaia Tsaousidou

Ms. Isaia, vice president of the Association of European Journalists, expressed the importance of maintaining freedom of opinion and expression, especially in Europe, in order to remain an example of media freedom for other nations. Also, Ms. Isaia stressed that winning over impunity is possible but requires the cooperation of all governments, journalists and human rights organizations, and more importantly it requires a dialogue among all journalists from all around the world.

  • An exclusive film by Reporters Without Borders, and a short film prepared by the Journalist Support Committee on Victims of Impunity in Bahrain, were presented during the seminar, accompanied by a comprehensive report on three cases of impunity in Bahrain.

(Video Link to Bahrain Impunity Victims, produced by JSC: )

In conclusion, a list of recommendations made by the Journalist Support Committee were mentioned.

Ms. Awad also pointed to the importance of further cooperation between the committee and UNESCO, and to maintain contact with Mr. Hussein Youssef, Representative of the committee in Bahrain.


  • The committee recommends to constitutionally stipulate the need to respect the profession of the press and media work and to consider all types of criminal violations that impedes its normal course of action, equivalent with sanctions that undermine national interests and security.
  • To provide the necessary legal structure to ensure the protection of journalists and to ensure their professional and human rights, in addition to hold accountable those who attack these rights.
  • To commit to full transparency in dealing with issues related to journalistic work and rights.
  • To provide the right, free and safe environment for the development of journalism and the performance of its professional duties.
  • Hand in hand with the United Nations, we call for the cessation to all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers and to exert maximum efforts to prevent violence against journalists and media workers and to prosecute all perpetrators and bring them to justice for their crimes against journalists.
  • We emphasize the need to ensure that victims receive appropriate treatment and to create a safe and conducive environemnt for journalists to operate independently and without any undue interference.