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Friday, 22/02/13

A Day Without News?

What would the world be like if the risks became too great for journalists to try and uncover the truth? What would it be like to see a day without news? 

by Sara Solfanelli, HR and Talent Director, MediaCom

A Day Without News?

As a professional working in the media industry, have a keen interest in photography, particularly reportage.  My exposure to and familiarity with some of the world's leading photojournalists has developed greatly over the past few years, and I am honoured to call many of these talented photographers my close friends.  But beyond their talent, is their incomprehensible bravery. The dangers that they face when traveling into and reporting from war zones became tragically real when I shared their shock and grief in 2011 when Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondrus were killed in Libya whilst covering the Arab Spring, and then again one year ago today when legendary correspondent Marie Colvin and award-winning photojournalist Rémi Ochlik were deliberately murdered in Syria. The journalistic and media community became outraged - and so did I.

I joined forces with Aidan Sullivan (VP Getty Images), David Friend (Creative Director, Vanity Fair), Tom Stoddart (preeminent photojournalist) and Lynsey Addario - a world-renown photojournalist who has been kidnapped twice while on assignment to report the news to the world - to do something.  Today, in memory of Marie and Rémi, we launch the A Day Without News? campaign.

The purpose of the campaign, which already has wide support across the international news media community, is to draw sharper attention to the growing numbers of journalists who have been killed and injured in armed conflict. Through grassroots support within the community, A Day Without News? aims to  further the invaluable work of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations who are dedicated to this issue. We are working closely with these organizations to build public support through publicity; increasing pressure for change through diplomacy; and facilitating the identification, investigation and prosecution of war crimes committed against journalists.

Following meetings that we attended in New York with the UK Mission to the UN, we were put in contact with the UN Secretary General's office.  We've already seen amazing results - the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, sent us his endorsement and support today

Every journalist killed, every voice lost, brings us closer to a day without news - a day when it is too dangerous to report on the atrocities taking place in the world.  And that is a day that the media industry - and society as a whole -  can't afford to see.

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