Today the Committee to Protect Journalists joins 15 other press freedom and media development organizations calling on the participants of the Syrian peace conference in Geneva to include freedom of the press and expression as "fundamental cornerstones in any viable political settlement."
Admittedly, the U.N.-backed summit's goal of establishing a transitional Syrian government is a tall order, with TheNew York Timesreporting that "friction and acrimony broke out almost immediately" at the start of the conference this morning. Yet even if the overarching goal cannot be immediately achieved, all parties can still agree on some basic principles to make a very inhumane war just a little more humane. With over 60 journalists killed and 80 journalists abducted since the beginning of the conflict, according to CPJ research, participants can begin by agreeing to respect the inviolable non-combatant status of journalists reporting on the front lines.
Jason Stern, research associate for CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program, has a master’s in Middle East Studies from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in government from Cornell University.