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Always protect your sources, UNESCO tells journalists

Journalists must always protect their sources from disclosure because confidentiality for people offering information is the cornerstone of professional journalism, and is protected under international law.  Without doing this, the media will be unable to exercise freely its role as a  democraitc platform.

This is a cry from the heart from Zulmira Rodrigues, UNESCO Tanzania representative, who was speaking in the capital Dar es Salaam over the weekend ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (November 2).

Dar es Salaam-based Guardian newspaper quoted Rodrigues as saying: “Freedom of expression guarantees is of little value if journalists cannot exercise this right in safety.”

Rodrigues’ plea appears to deliver a huge blow to countries that enact or amend legislation aiming to force reporters into revealing their sources.  Some observers also believe that Rodrigues’ statement will go a long way toward wiping the tears of the global media community, which continues to watch helplessly the senseless killing of its members.

Over 700 journalists have been killed worldwide in the past decade alone, according to official statistics.

Although UNESCO said it had condemned the killing of about 540 media practitioners, the UN agency, alongside several media watchdogs, seem to have been fighting a losing battle to ensure that the media killers are brought to justice.

Out of the 103 journalists killed in Africa between 2006 and 2015, not more than five cases have been solved in court, the Guardian said, citing UNESCO figures.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of Africa’s red zones for critical media, not a single case out of the 11 journalists killed in the past decade has been properly solved.

Critics allege that most of these ‘real’ killers are believed to have been disappeared into the nature.

Photo: South African newspapers. credit: Buzzsouthafrica.com

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