Brussels, June 13 (ANI): The International News Safety Institute on Friday welcomed passage of the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act by the US House of Representatives and urged the Senate and President Obama to speed its progress into law.
The measure, passed late on Wednesday as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, expands the examination of press freedom worldwide in the State Department's annual human rights report and establishes a grant programme aimed at strengthening media independence internationally. It will now go before the Senate and, if approved, on to President Obama for signature.
"This Act aims to give real teeth to efforts to promote press freedom by ensuring protection against harm for journalists around the world," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder. "We hope the Senate and President Obama give it their full support.
"If the Act passes into law, countries where journalists are killed and persecuted for doing their jobs will be named and shamed".
"Our many colleagues working in fear of their lives then will know they have powerful friends who are watching over them."
The Daniel Pearl Act-authored by Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Mike Pence (R-IN), co-chairmen of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press-is named after the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in February, 2002.
At least 34 news media who have died trying to cover the news this year, bringing the total since 1996 to more than 1,400.
INSI, a non-governmental organisation supported by news organisations, journalist support groups and humanitarian concerns worldwide, has now provided safety training at no cost to 1,223 journalists and other news media staff in 20 countries. (ANI)