A Memorial to Fallen Journalists
WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2014
By Thomas S. Saras
President, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada
May 5, 2014,
Toronto City Hall Rotunda
Honourable Madam Premier, your worship Norm Kelly, Mayor of Toronto, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman, Brothers and Sisters in Canada’s Ethnic Media.
It is an honour and indeed a distinct privilege for me and my colleagues to welcome you all today as we recognize those who lost their lives while in action, in order to serve better by informing them on the happenings around the world, and also some who distinguished themselves in the service of Canada’s diversity in our great multiculturalism founded on our freedom of the press.
Today’s event is a celebration of the virtues we do believe in this profession and at the same time a memorial to those of us fallen during their efforts to see and inform the public about the event surrounding our world.
Journalists supposed to have the support of those who are controlling the democratic government of the international communities and report of the problems the citizens are facing. Unfortunately we are living and working in an environment that over the years became increasingly dangerous for ourselves and our sisters and brothers covering the frontlines.
The result is that during 2013 the International Press Institute reported that 117 journalists lost their lives while covering events. This number makes 2013 the second deadliest year on the IPI Death Watch.
According to International Press Institute the most dangerous places for a journalist are India, Pakistan, the Philippines.
Pakistan also featured in the report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) which published by the end of last year. The report confirmed five work-related deaths in Pakistan, at the same time said that the Middle East had become a “Killing field” for journalists. According to this report even United Kingdom and the USA had a negative response for the disclosures made by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
In many cases journalists are jailed without reasonable cause or due process, harassed or killed in many countries and in states that proclaim their commitment to free expression and press freedom, as the journalists try to report about matters in the public interest and to gain access to information.
In 2013, UNESCO observers counted 91 journalists killed, with 24 more to date this year. Scores of others were jailed or threatened. Many died in war zones. Others killed for their reporting on crimes or politics. According to Commonwealth Journalists Association “World Press Freedom Day” is also an opportunity to renew our commitment to the highest possible professional standards, because the authority of journalism to hold the powerful to account depends on maintaining the public’s trust”. During 2013 IPI called the five more dangerous cases it has seen. These were Angola, China, Turkey, Cuba and Pakistan.
At this point please allow me to refer to journalists killed from 1997 to today.
According to statistics by the International Press Institute in:
1997, 28 Journalists killed.
1998, 50 Journalists killed.
1999, 86 Journalists killed
2000, 56 Journalists killed
2001, 55 Journalists killed
2002, 54 Journalists killed
2003, 64 Journalists killed
2004, 78 Journalists killed
2005, 65 journalists killed
2006, 100 Journalists killed
2007, 94 Journalists killed
2008, 66 Journalists killed
2009, 110 Journalists killed
2010, 101 Journalists killed
2011, 102 Journalists killed
2012, 133 Journalists Killed
2013, 120 Journalists killed
2014, 26 Journalists killed the first three months of the year.
Thank you all for your attention.