DM2023: International

  • 28 Apr 2023

Turkey, Sudan, Russia and Afghanistan all featured in motions focused on international issues.

Tim Dawson, on behalf of the National Executive Council, said countless threats against journalists meant that World Press Freedom Day now in its 30th year was more important than ever, as he proposed a motion noting the arrests and imprisonment of journalists around the world including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on 27 March over claims by the Russian security service that he gathered classified information.

The motion highlighted that Western governments were loud in their condemnation of ill-treatment of journalists for countries they disapproved of but were at times selective in approach when journalists were jailed in other countries such as Myanmar, Iran and Turkey.

Ben Cooper, Nottingham branch, urged the union to send the strongest possible protest to the Russian embassy over Gershovich’s treatment. Conference passed the motion to prioritise work on press freedom and to issue a statement on World Press Freedom Day from Delegate Meeting. It was agreed the union would continue to place special emphasis on the day throughout its future work.

A motion from Edinburgh and District Branch, amended by the NEC, focused on the impact of recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria in which over 50,000 people died. The motion was carried and instructed the NEC to work with the International Federation of Journalists and its four affiliates in Turkey to support journalists working in Turkey while calling on the government to free those imprisoned. Conference agreed the union would ask the UK government to do all it could to  put pressure on the Turkish government in removing technical and legal obstacles to communications.

Conference condemned the Iranian regime’s labelling of Persian-language media outlets such as BBC Persian and Iran International as “supporting terrorism.” and called for an end to the persecution and harassment against journalists working for BBC Persian service and their families in Iran.

The union also committed to continue its calls for Iran to end the criminal investigations against BBC Persian journalists including those working for Iran International, and to lift the asset freeze in place.

Conference welcomed the affiliation of the Tehran Journalists’ Association to the IFJ and called on the NEC to build links with them.

A London Magazine branch late notice motion noted grave concern about the outbreak of hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces militia (RSF). Yassin El-Moudden proposing the motion said money was urgently needed for doctors’ unions working in the health crisis in Sudan.

An amendment on behalf of the National Executive Council was carried. Conference instructed the NUJ’s National Executive Council to send a solidarity message to sister union and IFJ affiliate, the Sudanese Journalists’ Union. It was agreed the union would circulate information from our sister union and also encourage NUJ branches take action in whatever way possible to engage in campaigns led by the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of African Journalists to protect Sudanese journalists.

Conference agreed the union would make donations through appeals by the International Federation of Journalists and the FAJ and encourage NUJ members to join protests for peace in Sudan.

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