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Charter voor de veiligheid van journalisten

Reporters Without Borders offers the news media a charter to protect journalists working in dangerous conditions

(PARIS - March 14, 2002) -- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) publishes today a Charter for the Safety of Journalists Working in War Zones or Dangerous Areas aimed at averting or at least reducing the risks that war reporters run in the course of their work. The press freedom organisation is asking editors to adopt it and observe it.

Although no war zone is absolutely safe, the Charter makes a number of useful proposals in the form of eight principles. These are a commitment by the media, public authorities and journalists to systematically seek ways to assess and reduce the risks involved, not forcing journalists to cover wars against their will, using only experienced journalists, providing adequate preparation, equipment and insurance, offering post-mission psychological counselling if requested and giving journalists international legal protection.

The Charter was drawn up by representatives of the French foreign and defence ministries, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, UNESCO, French journalists' trade unions (CFDT and SNJ), Reporters Without Borders and the World Press Freedom Committee, along with doctors and the IPS Bellini-Gutenberg insurance group.

This working party was set up after a forum organised last 18 December by Reporters Without Borders at the Foreign Press Centre in Paris, where nearly 100 journalists discussed the topic of "War reporters: news at what price ?"

Every time there is a war, the price journalists pay is a heavy one. Last November, eight special correspondents were killed in Afghanistan. After paying tribute to their bravery, it is time we took the necessary steps to avert or at least reduce the risks that war reporters run.

The Charter will be distributed to editors and journalists all over the world by Reporters Without Borders and its partners who have compiled it, through their network of representatives and correspondents.

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