Meet acknowledges perils of reporting in conflict zones
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Imphal, December 08 2012: At the seminar of South Asia Media Commission on "Reporting Conflict Zones" held at India International Centre, Delhi, important statements have been adopted which include that media persons reporting from conflict zones like J&K, Naxal affected areas like Chattisgarh or from North-East to various districts under Maoist influence, live under permanent threat.

Threat to their lives and personal security as well as blackmail of their families is common.

"There is no organized machinery to either protect or to project objective truth about the situation in those areas," one statement said.

Actually, the State institutions are expected to provide adequate protection and other systems to the journalists-and irrespective of the views of the newspaper and channel concerned, another statement added.

The media owners / employers are also expected to give monetary and legal back up, including special insurance to the journalists.

"We regret to note that there is a general apathy and as a result it is a threat to free flow of information, which is a prerequisite for maintaining national unity, integrity and sovereignty," one of the statements further said.

Even media organisations should recognize the urgency of the situation and create means to respond to the challenges posed by the situation in conflict zones.

There are many differences among groups and individuals in media depending on their political perceptions and persuasion.

At times of pressure, they need to rise above this and come together and the Press Council, Editors Guild of India etc should be the first port of call for help but more than help or to alleviate their suffering.

We should express solid solidarity with those who do a difficult job of reporting from the battle lines as it were.

"We call on the governments and specially the government of J&K not to resort to stoppage of advertisements to newspapers and desist from resorting to persecution.

Similarly, laws that restrict freedom of press in any manner should be repealed," a statement said.

The Seminar on reporting "Conflict Zones" was organized by South Asia Media Commission under the broad mandate to it, of the parent body South Asia Free Media Association, India.

There is no confusion about this mandate and SAFMA as well as Media commission have worked ceaselessly for India-Pakistan amity and fraternity among all South Asian nations.

SAFMA respects sovereignty and national independence of all member countries and primarily work to make free access to sources of information to keep free without any fear or favour.

SAFMA would continue pursue this goal.

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