IPI Congress opens in Doha

DOHA, March 19 (KUNA) — Acting Director General of Al-Jazeera Media Network Dr. Mostefa Souag urged the press freedom defenders across the world to scale up lobbying for the implementation of the International Declaration on the Protection of Journalists.
In his inaugural speech to the International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress on Saturday, Dr. Souag said the Declaration sets forth the criteria and principles relating to the safety and rights of journalists.
The IPI Congress, themed “Journalism at Risk,” is co-organized by the IPI and Al-Jazeera Center for Public Liberties and Human Rights from 19 to March 21, 2016, in collaboration with other partner press organizations and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Declaration aims to shed light on the basic principles with respect to the press freedom and the protection of journalists, Souag said.
More than 70 leaders of press institutions press freedom defenders took part in the preparation of the Declaration during two workshops organized, respectively, in Nairobi and London in last September, he noted.
The Declaration has been reviewed and approved by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, and the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Souag revealed.
On the “horrible violations targeting the press people,” he said they include murder, assault, torture and abduction, noting that 2,300 journalists have been killed since 1990 and the killer are still at large.
“Al-Jazeera Media Network paid heavy price from its staff and the dignity of the profession for the sake of reaching truth. Despite the numerous risks, the Network continues its pursuit of truth,” Souag pointed out.
He wondered how the perpetrators of these serious crimes go unpunished while the profession pinned high hopes that the second decade of the 21st century would see the press freedom booming.
Meanwhile, IPI Executive Board Chairman John Yearwood said the Institute was able to make headway in releasing the detained journalists across the world in the recent years.
In 2012 the IPI launched a campaign against notorious laws that used to defame the profession, Yearwood said.
The IPI is working with Al-Jazeera for launching the Declaration which is an international legal instrument for protecting the safety of journalist, he added.
On his part, Board Chairman of Al-Jazeera Media Network Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani said the hosting of the 65th session of the IPI Congress signals the Network’s keenness on building a strategic partnership with the international press freedom defenders.
“The Congress is an attempt to draw international attention to the challenges facing the journalists in reaching truth relating to corruption and serious human rights violations, particularly in the areas of armed conflicts and turbulence,” he said.
Sheikh Hamad voiced hope that the Congress will reach results that could deliver reassuring message to the journalists worldwide.
The Congress brought together more than 300 leaders of press institutions and press freedom advocates, including the IPI board members and director of the UNESCO Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development (FEM) Guy Berger. (end) nnd.gb