Press Emblem Campaign

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Press Emblem Campaign

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The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), founded in 2004 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an international non-governmental organization enjoying consultative status with the United Nations. Its objective is strengthening the protection and safety of journalists working in areas of conflict and of domestic violence as well as on dangerous missions. It militates for the adoption of an international convention strengthening journalists’ safety and the fight against impunity.

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Background[modifier | modifier le code]

The idea of the Press Emblem Campaign was first arose in Geneva in 2003 within the Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU, according to its French-language acronym) following the invasion of Iraq by the United States.[1] The 8 April 2003 death of two journalists (the Ukrainian Taras Protsyuk, a cameraman for Reuters, and the Spaniard José Couso, cameraman for the private channel Telecinquo) following the firing on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad by a United States tank, as well as the large number of journalists killed in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, prompted a group of journalists of several nationalities based at the United Nations in Geneva to explore ways of better protecting reporters in conflict zones.[2][3]

The PEC was set up during a general assembly in Geneva on 2 June 2004 as a not-for-profit association under the Swiss Civil Code. In conformity with its statutes, it is independent and without political or religious affiliation.[4] It has the following objectives: promote among governments the protection of journalists in violent contexts, with a view to reinforcing freedom of the press and defending the right of professional journalists to information; promote and assure the follow-up of the international convention project, including, if necessary, a press emblem which, in its statutes, in the event of aggression against a journalist in course of professional activity, will provide for an impartial independent inquiry, legal prosecution of the perpetrators of the aggression, and compensation; and, once the convention has been signed by at least one government, monitoring of its implementation.

Its co-founders were Hedayat Abdel Nabi (Egypt), a former president of the ACANU, elected president; Blaise Lempen (Switzerland), elected general secretary; George Gordon-Lennox (Canada), representing Reporters Without Borders (RWF) at the United Nations; Mathieu Fleury (Switzerland), a lawyer representing Impressum (Federation of Swiss Journalists); Christine Gabella (Switzerland), a lawyer representing Impressum; Jamil Chade (Brazil), former president of the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in Switzerland (APES); Moaid Al-Lamy (Iraq), general secretary of the Uunion of Iraqi Journalists; Peter Splinter (United Kingdom), representing Amnesty International at the United Nations Office in Geneva; Mohamed Cherif (Algeria); Reto Breiter (Switzerland), former president of Impressum; Daniel Favre (Switzerland), vice-president of the Union internationale de la presse francophone (UPF)[5].

The PEC organized its first international conference in September 2004 in Geneva during which the Geneva Declaration was adopted.[6] Some of the conference delegates expressed their opposition to a press emblem.[7] The PEC clarified that this emblem is to be optional, that it is necessary for journalists to be identified in areas of conflict so that they not be confused with civilians or combatants, and that there is no single, officially recognized emblem.

Its website,, was launched in the latter part of 2004. In November 2007, it undertook a world-wide consultation among governments regarding a draft international convention to reinforce the safety and protection of journalists.[8] Following this consultation, a series of meetings were held at the United Nations Office in Geneva under the direction of the Mexican ambassador to the United Nations and the first chair of the Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba.[9] These consultations, in which some thirty countries participated, reached no conclusion owing to a lack of political will and the ambassador’s subsequent departure from Geneva. The effort was then taken up by a small group of countries within the Human Rights Council under the aegis of Austria (with the support of France, Greece, Qatar, Tunisia and Morocco), work that resulted in the adoption by consensus of four Human Rights Council resolutions on the safety of journalists, in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.[10]

In 2009, the PEC awarded the first PEC Prize for the protection of journalists, given subsequently each year in June to an individual or organization outstanding throughout the previous year in the defense of the safety and protection of journalists.[11]

In 2010, the PEC obtained special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which status has since been renewed each year without interruption.[12] This has allowed it to intervene in all Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva and to participate in UNESCO meetings on the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, in particular in the consultation organized in Geneva in June 2017.[13][14]

In 2017, the executive committee of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed its support for a draft of an International Convention for the Protection Journalists, which resulted in the launch of a new campaign.[15]

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Workings [modifier | modifier le code]

The Association’s resources come from contributions from the members of its executive committee as well as public and private subsidies and contibutions. The members of its committee serve on a volunteer basis.

Those who can be members of the association include: professional journalists and journalist associations in their own right; members of not-for-profit non-governmental organizations, individually or collectively; citizens wishing to support the objectives of the association. At the end of 2018, the PEC comprised some fifty supporting organizations on all continents.[16]

The association’s governing bodies are the General Assembly and the Directorate. The General Assembly meets at least once annually and on any occasion deemed necessary or upon request from half of its members. It elects the members of the Directorate, which comprises the president, the vice-president(s), the general secretary and the members of its steering committee. The term of office is two years, renewable without limit.

Since 2004, Hedayat Abdel Nabi has held the position of president without interruption and Blaise Lempen that of general secretary. At the end of 2018, the steering committee comprised Luisa Ballin (vice-president, president of the PEC Prize jury), Daniel Favre (vice-president in charge of the French-speaking world), Luis Vazquez-Buenfil (vice-president in charge of Latin America), Ana Leurinda (representative to the United Nations), Ricardo Espinosa (representative to the United Nations), Christian Campiche (Impressum president), Tamer Aboalenin, Pilar Ackerman, Mohamed Cherif, Kyra Nunez-Johnsson, Robert James Parsons.[17]

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Activities[modifier | modifier le code]

The PEC denounces attacks on the safety of journalists through press releases sent to the media, NGOs, journalists’ associations and embassies as well as on social media such as Twitter.[18] Each year in December it publishes an annual report on the basis of its website’s continually updated list of victims. Its sources are international and local media, NGOs, members of the Press Emblem Campaign.[19]

Its figures are generally higher than those of other organizations defending press freedom (Reporters without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, International Press Institute, International Federation of Journalists), for it does not distinguish between journalists killed explicitly because of their profession and those killed for apparently other reasons. It considers that it is ordinarily too difficult to know the exact causes of a journalist’s murder without an impartial independent investigation, especially given the conflicting accounts such a killing commonly gives rise to.

The PEC has intervened at every session of the Human Rights Council since 2010 to denounce the most serious abuses and organize events parallel to the Council’s sessions.[20] It encourages individuals and organizations active in the field by its annual award. It participates in international meetings and conferences devoted to the safety of journalists. It gives no direct aide to journalists. The PEC insists in its interventions with governments on the need to strengthen the fight against impunity. Its organizes events for World Press Freedom Day observed on 3 May, as well as for International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November.

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Publications [modifier | modifier le code]

Its annual reports are available on its website.[21]

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References[modifier | modifier le code]

1.↑ (en) « ACANU » [archive], sur ACANU 2.↑ « RFI - Médias - Les journalistes pris pour cible à Bagdad » [archive], sur 3.↑ « Nouveau bilan de journalistes tués en Irak : 72 victimes depuis le début de la guerre | Reporters sans frontières » [archive], sur RSF, 22 septembre 2005 4.↑ « Contacts » [archive], on 5.↑ « Contacts » [archive], on 6.↑ « Contacts » [archive], on 7.↑ en) « SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class journal research » [archive], sur SAGE Journals (DOI 10.1177/1750635209104651) 8.↑ (es) Dr U. C. Jha et Dr K. Ratnabali, The Law of Armed Conflict: An Introduction, Vij Books India Pvt Ltd, 5 juin 2017 (ISBN 9789385563928 Search this book on Logo.png., archive]) 9. « Luis Alfonso de Alba », dans Wikipedia, 10 novembre 2018 10.↑ « HCDH | Human Rights Council concludes thirty-ninth session after adopting 23 resolutions and a Presidential statement » [archive], sur 11.↑ « PEC AWARD » [archive], on 12.↑ 13.↑ « L'ONU rédige un Plan d'action pour la sécurité des journalistes » [archive], on ONU Info, 19 septembre 2011 14.↑ « Appel global à faire progresser la sécurité des journalistes sur le terrain » [archive], on UNESCO, 7 juillet 2017 15.↑ « Campagne pour la sécurité des journalistes », VQH,‎ 23 octobre 2018 (ISSN 1424-4039, lire en ligne [archive]. 16.↑ « Contacts » [archive], on 17.↑ « Hedayat Abdel Nabi – A famous journalist is fighting for the (...) » [archive], on 18.↑ « Blaise Lempen (@Blaisepec) | Twitter » [archive], on 19.↑ « casualties » [archive] 20.↑ (en) « Press Emblem Campaign, General Debate Item:4 (Cont'd), 15th Meeting Human Rights Council » [archive], sur United Nations Web TV (consulté le 14 mars 2019) 21.↑ « pec news » [archive], sur

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External links

Press Emblem Campaign

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