SAARC editors' conference on reporting on armed conflict begins

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Dhaka, Oct 28 (UNI) A conference of editors of SAARC countries on media reporting on armed conflict and violence began here today.

Inaugurating the two-day conference , Bangladesh Law and Information Advisor Barrister Mainul Hosein said political leaders of SAARC nations have agreed long ago that promoting free flow of information can have a dynamic effect in strengthening the process of cooperation against hostilities and differences.

''It is important to analyse dispassionately by you here how far such expressions of good intention have materialised into good deeds,'' he said.

He said earnest a cooperation among SAARC countries can ensure rapid development and a lasting peace in the region.

On global conflicts, the Advisor said if arrogance of military might can be kept in check, the UN's collective power can be best used for avoiding dangerous conflicts.

''The effectiveness of the United Nations is our best hope for a peaceful resolution of national and international conflicts,''he observed.

Mr Hosein said US war on Iraq and Afghanistan can be a valuable lesson of how in modern days military might of a superpower has become helpless in ''imposing'' its wills.

''Instead, it has only succeeded in enhancing violence globally,'' he added.

Prof Abdus Salam, chairman of Dhaka University's Department of Mass Communications and Journalism, presided over the opening ceremony, which was also addressed by ICRS Head of Mission Finn Ruda.

Some 20 senior editors of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka are participating in the conference.

The Law and Information Adviser said violent confrontation must be discouraged by contending state or non-state players as a means of resolving political disputes.

''No matter how much is said in Geneva Convention or other international laws, no law will prove adequate for protection of journalists covering armed conflicts,''he said, adding that innumerable journalists are risking their lives and dying while covering conflicts and wars.

Mr Hosein said governments must learn to show restraint and follow international law by allowing international institutions to play their part before resorting to violent means. ''Only then it will be easy for the government of a country to contain violent elements and groups within the country.'' The conference will deal with four topics-- 'Media: violence and torture', Media and Protection', Media and the Law of Armed Conflict' and 'War/Conflict Time: responsibility of media'.

UNI

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