American Red Cross Presents Covering Conflict

Albuquerque, NM - A seminar, panel discussion and dinner on November 1 at Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque will highlight one International Services of the Red Cross provided for Journalists in war zones and areas of conflict. The event starts at 6:00 p.m. and will conclude at 9:00p.m.

Featured speakers are Alfredo Corchado, Mexico Bureau Chief of The Dallas Morning News, Mohamed Keita, Africa Advocacy Coordinator for The Committee to Protect Journalists and Angela Kocherga, Border Bureau Chief for Belo Television. Chris Schuler, a multiple Emmy winning producer will serve as the master of ceremonies. A presentation on International Humanitarian Law is also part of the program.

The safety and protection of journalists is an issue of increasing concern worldwide. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 2012 saw a 49% increase in journalist deaths from the previous year. Some of the deadliest places for reporters in the last year were Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Brazil, and Mexico.

In Syria alone, there were 36 journalists killed and in Somalia another 14. 12 of those killed in Somalia were confirmed murders. The underlying issue to this deathly climate around the world is impunity. Since 1992, the CPJ has reported almost 600 journalist deaths without punishment. Some of these deaths occurred in conflict zones, while others were in Mexico where the rule of law is weak and the criminal gang culture is extremely powerful but international humanitarian law (IHL) does not apply. In a time where we see amateur journalists recording news stories on their cell phones, military objectives that include attacks on the media, and journalist murders going unprosecuted, it is a complex issue without a clear solution.

The importance of reporters cannot be emphasized enough. They help raise awareness about critical issues like the cost of war and human rights abuses and offer a bipartisan perspective, helping form public opinion. Journalists also provide vital assistance to humanitarian organizations by providing information that helps guide relief operations and interventions. While reporting on war, violent crime, and other crises certainly contains obvious risks, targeted violence against media professionals should not be among the hazards, especially when they are supposed to be protected under international humanitarian and human rights law.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission. To help the Red Cross continue to save lives, contributions may be made to the American Red Cross Local Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-560-2302. Contributions to the Local Disaster Relief Fund may also be sent to the American Red Cross in New Mexico by mail: American Red Cross in New Mexico, 7445 Pan American West Fwy. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 or made online at www.redcross.org/newmexico. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact: Beverly L. Allen, Communications Coordinator, (505) 220 3097