SOCHUM: Protecting the Rights of Journalists
Today’s committee session brought forth an array of working papers ranging from implementing a database to establishing an advisory board composed of experts in issues regarding the rights of journalists. The purpose of this database is to register journalists in order to track which countries they are traveling to so should any danger arise there will be means to deal with it. Moreover, the advisory board aims to educate journalists on a specific country’s issues in order to avoid violating customs or offending the people. These solutions were previously presented in past UN bodies, however the job of this committee was to figure out what to do with this data and to avoid dangerous situations of kidnapping and torture.
The general consensus of these solutions were favorable with some dissenting opinions. Some delegates viewed this as effective while others acknowledged that there has to be a step more in ensuring that these dangerous situations do not arise. It is unrealistic to expect a one off solution since there is so much that has to be analyzed such as the purpose of a journalist’s visit and the person who they are interviewing, especially in a contentious war zone. Delegates refrained from delving into a journalist’s purpose of their visit in order to protect their privacy, however in some visits this is a necessary evil. This is to ensure that should any trouble arise, it will be easier to signal for help before it is too late. It is reasonable to assume that a journalist is willing to disclose most of the aspects of their visit because, they, more than anyone else are aware of the potential danger that they are putting themselves in for the sake of informing others and lowering the barrier of ignorance.