In the not too distant past, journalists working in conflict zones were protected, to the extent possible, by all parties. Over the last ten years, that has changed with tragic consequences. Many correspondents, photographers and other media professionals are being deliberately targeted by forces who will stop at nothing to prevent the world from knowing of and seeing their actions.
An alarming 971 journalists have been killed while covering conflict in the past two decades.
It was just two years ago that the world suffered the heartbreaking loss of our own Chris Hondros, along with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, in Libya. Furthermore, 70 journalists were killed while reporting from war zones in 2012 alone, including the high profile cases of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik in Homs, Syria. Today is the anniversary of their deaths.
Sadly, more than half of these killings – many of which may be war crimes – have not been prosecuted. This must change. Responsible parties must be held accountable if journalists are to do their critical job of bearing witness on society’s behalf. That is why a group of concerned individuals and media organizations, including Getty Images, have joined forces and launched A Day Without News?.
It’s with a great deal of pride that I salute Getty Images’ Aidan Sullivan, who first envisioned and then organized A Day Without News? to raise awareness of the risks journalists face in war zones and to mobilize governments and courts to prosecute those who harm members of the news media.
The initiative is already making an impact. It’s an honor to share that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke out today in support of the campaign. UK Prime Minister David Cameron signaled his support as well, on Twitter.
You can help, too.
As readers of this blog, you understand photojournalism’s power to educate, engage and to inspire action. You can help keep journalists safe by signing on as a supporter and by spreading the word among your friends and colleagues.
As a newsgathering organization, a member of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and a key partner of A Day Without News?, Getty Images will urge governments and leaders to identify, investigate and prosecute cases where journalists have been targeted and killed. Only sustained effort to pursue such justice will ensure that the world never sees a day without news.
Editor’s note: Jonathan Klein is a member of the board of directors of the CPJ, and is CEO and Co-founder of Getty Images.