Croatia to host 2006 Meeting of Mediterranean Journalists
Malta to host 2007 Meeting of Mediterranean Journalists
Saturday, 14 May, 2005
Malta is to host the 2007 Meeting of Mediterranean Journalists under the auspices of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The decision was taken at the 1st Meeting of Mediterranean Journalists held recently in Almeria, Spain. Next year the meeting will be held in Croatia.
At the opening session of the meeting in Almeria, the General Secretary of the IFJ, Aidan White, attacked the governments who manipulate the media for their own political ends, "as we saw in Spain a few days before the last election and in Britain when the BBC was attacked by the government for its independent reporting of the war in Iraq, as well as those governments around the Mediterranean, such as Turkey, Slovenia, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia and Israel, when their approach threatens media independence and pluralism."
We must unite to send a strong message to all governments that they must keep their hands off the controls of media and information, continued Mr White. He also criticised the US government over its failure to end speculation over targeted killings of journalists and media staff in Iraq.
Last year more than 130 journalists and media staff were killed. It was the worst year ever. Up to today some 73 journalists and media staff have been killed in the Iraq conflict alone, said Mr White.
"The IFJ recognises that most targeted journalists are the victims of cruel extremists with whom it is impossible to make a moral compact. We condemn unreservedly those attacks and the people behind the current wave of hostage taking which has seen the kidnapping of colleagues. We must be unequivocal about our condemnation of terrorism. I say this because sometimes there is confusion caused by those who justify extreme violence on the basis of ideas of 'legitimate resistance' to occupation, continued Mr White.
Mr White joined those who criticise much of the media coverage.
"We do need to do better. We do need to avoid the language of intolerance and we do need to avoid being manipulated by political and military spin doctors. The answer to bad journalism is good journalism. When journalists provide accurate, reliable, quality information in context and in an ethical and independent manner people are properly informed about the causes of tension," concluded Mr White.
The Institute of Maltese Journalists was represented at the Almeria Meeting by Secretary Joe A. Vella and Council Member Roderick J. Agius.