The UN Security Council on Wednesday urged world governments to end impunity for those who silence journalists in a resolution applauded as historic by a leading media rights group.
The resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member council expresses “deep concern at the threat to the safety of journalists” from extremists such as the Islamic State.
Last year, 66 journalists were killed while on assignment, and more than 90 percent of crimes against reporters go unpunished, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
This year, 25 journalists have lost their lives, including four cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris who were gunned down by jihadists in an attack that shocked the world.
The resolution “urges member-states to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel” working in war zones.
RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire welcomed the resolution, saying “this is a historic day for the protection of journalists and we hope also for the freedom of the press.”
– Targeting journalists –
Drafted by Lithuania and co-sponsored by 58 countries, the resolution seeks to build on a first measure passed in 2006.
More than 700 journalists have been killed over the past 10 years, prompting RSF’s Deloire to declare that more can be done to protect reporters.
Addressing the council, Deloire called for the appointment of a special UN envoy for the protection of journalists to report on efforts by governments to prosecute those responsible for the crimes.
Mariane Pearl, the widow of American journalist Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan1 in 2002, told the council that “rhetorical commitments” to end impunity against journalists were welcome, but that action was needed.
“Murder is the ultimate source of censorship, and not only in the case of Daesh,” she said, referring to Islamic State.
The beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and of Japanese reporter Kenji Goto has compounded fears about the dangers faced by journalists covering the IS campaign in Syria2 and Iraq3.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said targeting journalists had allowed extremists like IS fighters to not only “expose their barbarity, but also to make news, to advertise themselves.”
RSF’s Deloire urged the Security Council to refer Syria and Iraq to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure that crimes against journalists are investigated.
The council has been unable to launch ICC investigations in Syria because of opposition from Russia, a key Damascus ally.
Taking place in the plush environs of the BT Tower in central London the event, which was well attended by security installers/engineers from around the country, concluded with an impassioned debate about the industry s future amid evolving technology. But if you missed the SSAIB/BT Redcare Installer Forum, don t worry IFSEC International 2015 will again feature Fire & Installer Live, where you can check out the latest kit and find out how to cut your installation costs and win more custom. BT Redcare the UK s largest supplier of fire and security alarm signalling services will be exhibiting on stand G1450.
The SSAIB a certification body for both security and fire providers will be on F1375.
Click here to attend IFSEC 2015 between 16-18 June at London s ExCeL.
The multi-stakeholder study involving the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Association of British Insurers (ABI), British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), Building Research Establishment (BRE), CBRE, CS Todd & Associates, Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Glasgow City Council has already made some easily implemented recommendations. Fitting call point covers or stoppers to protect manual break-glass call points from accidental damage and using key switches to turn off alarm signalling during regular weekly system testing, are among the initial prescriptions for addressing the problem. Early findings from the project, which began in December with a brief to identify the causes of false alarms triggered by fire detection systems, suggest that changes to both British Standards and Building Regulations might be warranted to minimise the risk of unwanted alarms.
UK fire and rescue services (FRS) are erroneously summoned to more than 200,000 incidents every year, with the total cost to businesses and the fire service exceeding 1bn. Unwanted false alarm signals are a significant issue for Fire and Rescue Services so it s important we join with our partners to see them reduced, says Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Lewis Ramsay, the SFRS Director of Prevention and Protection In-depth research has been conducted by SFRS officers and a fire detection specialist. When the Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS) team attended a false alarm call they gathered as much information about the alarm system and the site as possible with a view to establishing what triggered the false alarm.
Over the course of four months the project has conducted more than 80 site investigations and this data is still being analysed at the Building Research Establishment (BRE). This type of project is long overdue, says Chairman of the Fire Industry Association Martin Harvey. Everyone knows the importance of having a well-designed and maintained fire alarm system.
No one from business, the fire alarm industry or fire and rescue service wish to see false alarms. The BRE has previously conducted its own study into the problem called The causes of false fire alarms in buildings. A specialist team from Europe, where unwanted fire alarms are also a scourge of the fire service, are hoping to attend the Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals summit at which the full report released later this year.
The study s objectives are: The collation of comprehensive data in relation to unwanted false alarm signal incidents Identification of the common causes of unwanted false alarm signal incidents, including appropriate classification.
Improved engagement between the SFRS, the fire industry, and businesses in relation to unwanted false alarm signal incidents A reduction in the volume of unwanted false alarm signal incidents within the Glasgow City area.
Provision of intelligence to help reduce the volume of unwanted false alarm signal incidents across Scotland.