Reporters Without Borders

Awareness campaign A Day Without News? set to highlight risks facing international journalists

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

February 21, 2013 | 3 min read

An awareness campaign to highlight the risks faced by journalists covering major international news is set to launch on the anniversary of the deaths of American war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik, killed in the Syrian city of Homs last year.

A Day Without News?’ will meet governments and organisations over the next 12 months to push for investigations and prosecutions into cases where journalists and media personnel have been killed.

Not-for-profit organisation Reporters Without Borders has reported the deaths of 90 journalists in 2012 - an increase of 33 per cent.

In 2011, the media industry was devastated by the news that photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros had been killed while working in Misrata, covering the Libyan conflict. Less than a year later, award-winning journalist for the Sunday Times, Marie Colvin, and award-winning French photojournalist, Remi Ochlik, were killed in Syria. Eye witnesses claimed both had been deliberately targeted.

Cat Colvin, sister of Marie Colvin, said: "My family is so deeply appreciative of the efforts of Aidan Sullivan and the A Day Without News? campaign, for raising awareness not only of my sister's murder at the hands of the Syrian government but of the growing numbers of journalists and photographers who are targeted in war zones throughout the world every day. I am particularly touched that February 22, the anniversary of Marie's death, would be selected as the day to launch this critically important effort."

The campaign notes that dozens of journalists were based in Libya covering the conflict in 2011 in Syria at the moment, barely a handful are reporting events from the ongoing crisis. The Sunday Times announced at the beginning of February that the paper would no longer accept photographs from freelance journalists working in Syria to reduce the risks to their lives, highlighting that the problem is impacting coverage.

Organisers hope the campaign will go viral on social media and are encouraging Twitter users in particular to get involved, with a suggested '971 journalists killed since 1992. Imagine #ADayWithoutNews' tweet to kick the launch off.

The campaign is being led by Aidan Sullivan, vice president at Getty Images, Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, CNN and Kira Pollock, director of photography from Time Magazine, who are backing the campaign in a bid to develop legal agendas to prevent the targeting of journalists in conflict areas, and seek justice and prosecutions for the death of media in war zones.

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