Baku. Ramiz Mikayiloglu – APA. As part of the 5th News Agencies World Congress underway in Baku, the panel session titled “Protecting the journalists' mission: freedom, access, safety and conflict zones” was held on Thursday.
The session was moderated by John Daniszewski, AP vice president of international news.
David Schlesinger, founder and managing director of Tripod Advisers, said journalist are not soldiers, nor pens are a threat, nor cameras are weapons.
“Some are afraid of journalists revealing the truth. Journalists get kidnapped, their access to information gets restricted, and consequently transparency disappears. In the end, society becomes the loser. Any society which seeks well-being needs to be informed. Otherwise corruption will prevail. Some leaders evade from press conferences. Some governments intrude in journalism. Some journalists get killed for exposing corruption or covering war and sports. Most of these murders are not investigated as they should be. In this Congress, we must pledge to be more sensitive to this issue. Bloggers should be accepted as independent reporters. If an independent journalist is kept out of a conference, this is an act aimed against us. We have to do all we can for the fulfillment of UN Resolution 22 and convey our ideas in this regard to politicians. Transparency is vital for progress. Media is supposed to ensure truth and transparency,” he said.
In his speech, Miklos Haraszti, head of the human rights department of the Center for European Neighborhood Studies of Central European University, said that in the 1980’s states considered some data as state secret and did not publicize them.
“Then democratic states started to release this information and build a transparent society. It was different in some states. However, development of the Internet has eliminated the boundaries in this field. We must fight against censorship without any hesitation. Censorship is concealing some information on the pretext of confidentially. There are articles in the Criminal Code regarding dissemination of confidential data. Wikileaks released confidential data. Confidential information is very important in preparation of reports. There is also discrimination in terms of accreditation and other issues of news agencies in some countries. Agencies, journalists are investigating human rights. These journalists should not be imprisoned on various pretexts,” he added.
Maxim Minchev, Director General Bulgaria’s BTA, stressed that the news agencies are faced with new challenges.
Vugar Seyidov, a special correspondent of Azerbaijan’s state news agency AZERTAC in Germany, said the work of journalists in conflict zones is even more complicated, stressing the importance of holding trainings for journalists before leaving for conflict zones.