Accra June 2, GNA - The just ended 25th World Journalists Congress, in Athens, Greece stressed the need for maximum protection for Journalists to practice their profession in safety and in an independent manner. Such protection was needed against the backdrop of deaths of some 43 Journalists and media staff since the Iraq war started last year, and attacks on civil liberties by some governments in the name of fighting terrorism.
In a motion after the meeting, the Congress noted that under the pretext of fighting terrorism, many countries including Canada, US, Britain, Australia, France, Russia, South Africa, Morocco, Uganda and Tanzania were introducing laws to curtail press freedom, freedom of expression, civil and political rights
The meeting, therefore, instructed the International Federation of Journalists Executives to give maximum support to, and encourage its affiliates to join and build alliances to oppose these "sweeping legislation".
It also decided to carry out a world survey on the social and professional status of Journalists to establish and ascertain the number of people engaged in journalism, the nature of their work and the conditions of their employment.
On civil liberties, the Government of Australia was under strong criticism for its abuse of the rights of refugees, in particular; its policy of mandatory detention; its human rights abuses and its attacks on the freedom of the press was cited in a motion by the media congress. The meeting agreed to hold a world conference of Journalists' organizations in 2005 to consider the impact of the war on terrorism on the work of Journalists as well as build global solidarity within journalism practice against actions, which limited civil liberties unnecessarily, or undermined the capacity of Journalist to report freely.
The theme for this year's Congress was: "Journalism on the Move - Building Solidarity to Meet Global Challenges."
The Ghana Journalists Association is a full member of IFJ. Ms Ajoa Yeboah Afari, President of GJA, represented the Association at the Congress.