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Malaysian Cameraman Death Reinforces Need of Safety Protocol

September 7, 2011

Malaysian Cameraman’s Death Reinforces Need for Safety Protocols

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of Malaysia (NUJM) in calling on employers to ensure the safety of media workers working in conflict areas, after the death of Malaysian cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor in Mogadishu, Somalia on September 2.

Noramfaizul, 39, a cameraman with Malaysia’s state-owned news agency Bernama, was killed by a sniper while covering an aid mission of Putera 1Malaysia, a humanitarian organisation with ties to UMNO, the major party in Malaysia’s governing coalition.

Organisers of the aid mission to the war-torn country have attracted criticism in Malaysia for not providing adequate safety equipment to the news team. Noramfaizul and three colleagues, including fellow cameraman Aji Saregar Mazlan from TV3 who was injured in the incident, were not equipped with bullet-proof vests or helmets. The vehicle they were travelling in at the time of the attack did not carry any signage identifying them as media.

“It is simply unacceptable for an employer to send a media worker to Somalia, which is known as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, without proper training and equipment,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“A full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Noramfaizul’s death must be conducted without delay.”

NUJM General Secretary V. Anbalagan said Noramfaizul’s death also underscores the need for media employers to enforce standard operating procedures and provide adequate insurance for staff working in dangerous environments.

“We will soon release our comprehensive safety guide book for journalists covering events like earthquakes, floods and social unrest whether locally or overseas,” Anbalagan said.

“But the onus of ensuring journalists' safety and welfare is on the employees because they decide whether to cover an assignment.”

The IFJ offers sincere condolences to Noramfaizul’s family, friends and colleagues.

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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