PROPRIETORS AND EDITORS CRITICISED FOR TAKING RISKS WITH STAFF

News release

25th September, 2006

Annual conference of Chartered Institute of Journalists

Strong criticisms is expected of proprietors and editors next week for taking unnecessary risks with the lives and safety of staff journalists and photographers.

Members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists will be holding their annual conference and AGM in Malta from 9 – 12 October. The conference – at the Grand Hotel Mercure San Antonio – is open to all members of the Institute. It is not limited to delegates from divisions and branches.

This is the second time that the CIOJ will have held its annual conference in Malta. The last time was in 1971. The Institute, which has many overseas members, alternates AGMs in England one year and overseas the next.

The four-day annual conference includes two formal Annual General Meetings – of the professional body, the Chartered Institute of Journalists, and the trade union Institute of Journalists (TU), which is only for employed members. The first will be chaired by the CIOJ President, Sangita Shah, and the second by Robin Morgan, chairman of the CIOJ Professional Practices Board.

Two half days have been set aside for debating resolutions submitted by divisions, branches or by individual members.

In addition there will be discussions of topics of major interest to journalists. One of these topics is “Personal safety for journalists in hazardous conditions”, to be proposed by the CIOJ’s Brussels representative, John Szemerey, who is also a member of the board of the International News Safety Institute (INSI).

“I want members to realise that dangerous situations are not limited to distant overseas assignments,” says Szemerey. “Terrorist outrages, horrible accidents and demonstrations turning nasty can happen anywhere. For our own safety we must be prepared and know how to react, what to do and what not to do.

“One of our young members had just got off that No. 30 bus that was blown up in Tavistock Square, Lonodon, last year. It can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“Editors and proprietors must be made to realise that it is their responsibility to ensure that their reporting staff (journalists, photographers, etc.) need basic safety training and that they must have safety equipment available, which they can put on if necessary.

“When there is a riot, violence or worse, journalists, news photographers, TV reporters and cameramen will be there to report, photograph or film what is happening. Safety training and safety equipment can make the difference between life and death. “

Members are known to feel strongly that many proprietors and editors are neglecting their responsibility to staff by not preparing them for violent and gruesome events.

The programme also includes receptions and sight-seeing, organised by the Malta Tourism Authority, and a gala dinner at the historic Bacchus Restaurant in the ancient city of Mdina.

Malta Air is the official carrier for the conference, and it offers conference participants a special low return fare to Malta from anywhere on its network.

— ENDS —

For further information, please e-mail John Szemerey, Hon. Press Officer to the CIOJ 2006 Annual Conference and AGM, at: johnszemerey@gmail.com

Or phone or e-mail Dom Cooper, General Secretary of the CIOJ, at 020 7252 1187 or memberservices@cioj.co.uk

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases, News

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