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"Dead man walking" Journalists appeal to the UN, as casualties for their profession are on the rise world-wide

First published 19th Jul 2013

A group of journalists appeared before the UN Security Council for the very first time since the UN passed a resolution on the protection of journalists and media personnel in armed conflict in 2006.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 995 journalists have been killed since 1992, while working in violent zones. 

Award-wining AFP correspondent form Somalia, Mustafa Haji Abdinur, spoke to the members of the Security Council about the deadly threats he faces by armed groups while doing his job.

   "Like so many others in my profession, on the dusty streets of Mogadishu, they call me 'a dead man walking," said Abdinur to the council members.

  “There is a sense of immunity in killing a journalist”said Gaith Abdul Ahad, Iraqi correspondent for the British Newspaper the Guardian, speaking to the shocking impunity towards the killing of journalists.

But journalists are not only under threat in places where the UN recognises a full blown conflict, places like Mexico are also experiencing a rising death toll related to the ongoing drug violence in the country.

  “Journalists are literally our eyes and ears in every corner of the world” said the U.S ambassador to the Security Council who was chairing the debate. 

Local journalists are of often the only source on violent events and casualties in their countries. As such, they are considered to be an important, even critical source of casualty recording. Humanitarian organisations and peacekeeping operations depend on the information shared by journalists during conflict for their own movements and safety of their operations. Journalists and others in the media should be seen as part of the humanitarian effort on the ground and be afforded much more active protection than they have received to date.