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Monday, October 2, 2000

Pledge Supported by the World’s Journalism Professional Organisations

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA — A world congress of journalists, organized by the International Communications Forum in cooperation with the Independent Union of Professional Journalists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, facilitated a four-day meeting from 28 September to 2 October. The theme ‘The Media – A Decisive Force in Building a Free and Just Society’ focussed on case studies from conflict areas, journalism education and training, discussions on media standards, and media lessons from the Balkans. Participants came from Africa, Canada, Jamaica, India, Russia, the United States, and East and West European Countries. Regional participants came from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. The assembly closed by beginning the 21st century with the ‘Sarajevo Commitment.’ 

The ‘Commitment’ is a personal pledge for media practitioners to be true to their profession in addressing major issues ‘to combine freedom with responsibility, talent with humility, privilege with service, comfort with sacrifice and concern with courage’ by further developing the role of media in democracy and responsibilities to its citizens.

Prevented from attending the congress at the last minute, Bill Kovach, Chairperson of the Committee of Concerned Journalists issued a letter of support. He mentions: ‘Like the members of the ICF and the journalists gathered in Sarajevo, we, at the Committee of Concerned Journalists, are vitally interested in the state of journalism in the world and of the need for greater support for those journalists who pursue the highest standards in their work. There is no better place to focus on these standards than in the city whose journalists taught us all we need to know about courage and commitment during the siege of Sarajevo.’ 

Media organizations in support of this congress are: International Association of Journalists; World Association of Newspapers; Association of European Journalists; Polish Association of Journalists; Society of Professional Journalists, USA; Committee of Concerned Journalists, USA; and The European Journalism Centre. Czech Senator Jarosalva Moserova, President of UNESCO General Council officially represented the NGO. 

The International Communications Forum is a voluntary activity made up of a world-wide network of media people who aim to raise standards in every part of the media. The Forum is devoted to the freedoms of expression and information.