Media Talk – Do journalists need a special safety convention?

Talk Tuesday 16th October, 2007

As an ever greater number of journalists are killed and kidnapped, we discuss whether there is a need for a special international convention to protect journalists working in war and conflict zones.

According to the figures from the International News Safety Institute, this year alone 140 journalists and media professionals have died – the worst year since records began.

Many argue that it is now time for journalists, who have increasingly became targets in their own rights, to have a special international convention to protect them.

Our panel debates whether the convention is needed or whether the profession should lobby national governments to act on existing laws to protect them as it has a duty to protect all civilians in war zones.

Geoffrey Robertson QC – counsel in many landmark cases in constitutional, criminal and media law in the courts of Britain and the commonwealth and he makes frequent appearances in the Privy Council and the European Court of Human Rights. In 2002, Justice Robertson was appointed as an appeal judge for the new UN war crimes court in Sierra Leone, and served as that court’s first President.

Knut Doerman – Deputy Head of the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, since June 2004. Before he had been Legal Adviser at the ICRC Legal Division between December 1998 and May 2004, he was inter alia Member of the ICRC Delegation to the Preparatory Commission of the International Criminal Court.

Aidan White – General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, a prime mover of the motion on defence of journalists and media staff in war zones agreed by the United Nations Security Council in 2006.

Others – TBC.

Moderated by Stewart Purvis – Professor of television at City University.

The event is organised in association with INSI.