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Copenhagen Climate Conference

Copenhagen Climate Conference: Call To Action To Protect Environmental Journalists

At the UN Conference on Climate Change,
24 international, regional and national press freedom organisations are
calling on world leaders to protect environmental journalists and give
them access to the information they need to cover climate change and the

With an increasing number of violent attacks on journalists covering
environmental and climate change issues, there is an urgent need for
action. At a press briefing today, International Media Support,
Reporters Without Borders, Internews and International Institute for
Environment and Development on behalf of all the signatories presented a
call to action stating:

"Media and press freedom organisations call on the world’s leaders to
reaffirm their pledge to Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and Article
19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and urge all governments
to practice transparency in access to information and to protect
journalists reporting on environmental issues and climate change."

The signing organisations insist that the media must be free to report
on environmental issues if the world is to address the challenge of
climate change. By serving as a watchdog on recalcitrant governments,
the media expose the corruption, nepotism and negligence that obstruct
efforts to protect the environment. Journalists are also crucial in
efforts to raise awareness and meet the Rio Declaration’s objective of
engaging and involving the general public in decision-making.

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Speaking at the press briefing today, Jesper Højberg, director of
International Media Support, said:

"The media plays a key role in engaging the public in the fight against
climate change through their stories and research. Their work also helps
to maintain pressure on governments to keep their promises to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions."

Vincent Brossel, head of the Asia desk of Reporters Without Borders,
"Some country delegations here in Copenhagen should explain why in
their respective countries, journalists and activists investigating
environmental issues are jailed, beaten, threatened or censored.

"If Uzbekistan, Russia, China, Burma or Indonesia, for example, do not
respect the right of their media to inform on such crucial issues, how
we can expect them to really commit to fight the climate change?"

James Fahn, global director of Internews Earth Journalism Network,
"When climate change reporters move into the field and cover illegal
logging and pollution, they face dangers similar to their colleagues
covering the crime beat."


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