Permanent Mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations


Ethics should be the basis of journalism during armed conflicts


New York, 28 May 2015.- As a part of a UN Security Council session that was held this Wednesday on the protection of civilians, specifically journalists, during armed conflict, the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations, Rafael Ramírez, ratified the importance of journalists carrying out their work with impartiality and responsibility in this type of scenario, and  also condemned the aggressions suffered by many social communication professionals at the hands of terrorist groups in Africa and the Middle East.
The debate was led by Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, with the presence of the UN Vice Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson; Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire and  Marianne Pearl, Representative of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.
“Journalists in armed conflicts are at significant risk when they denounce the atrocities perpetrated by the sides in the conflict, which, at times, makes them military objectives of state and non-state actors, in violation of international humanitarian law. During the 51 days of Israeli military aggression in the Gaza Strip in 2014, 2220 civilians died, of whom 17 were journalists, 16 were Palestinians and one was an Italian photographer,” highlighted Ramírez in his speech.
Likewise, the diplomat referred to the fact that International Humanitarian Law is a wide-ranging tool to guarantee the practice of journalism in situations of armed conflict, and urged its full application.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela condemns in the strongest terms any acts of violence against the journalists who cover armed conflicts, and calls for full observation of International Humanitarian Law, which protects them as civilians, as stated in the third Geneva Convention”.
Likewise, Ramírez pointed out that most of the information circulated on a global level is 80% controlled by 7 large communications companies, and differentiated between journalists and media corporations,
“We want to establish a clear difference between journalists and media corporations. We vindicate the honest, self-sacrificing, dangerous work of journalism professionals who risk their lives in situations of conflict for the right and duty to inform”, explained Ramírez.
Regarding this statement, he indicated the difficulties in guaranteeing balanced information, above all in armed conflict zones, where there are political or military powers in play, and condemned acts of violence against communication professionals.
The Security Council Open Debate, chaired by Lithuania in May, unanimously approved Resolution 2222 regarding the protection of journalists and related personnel in armed conflict.
Article 4 of the Third Agreement and Article 79 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Convention relating to International Humanitarian Law, also known as the “War Law”, establish protection for communications professionals in armed conflicts, classifying them as civilians and, in addition, recognise the figure of "War Correspondent" in the case of accreditation by one of the sides in the conflict.