Reporting on Violence and Emergencies Regional Media Conference for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific

CLOSING REMARKS 14 Oct 2011 Christoph Sutter, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC Delegation in the Philippines

• Hon. Herminio "Sonny" Coloma, Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office • Hon. Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, • Distinguished speakers and panellists of the Conference, • Representatives of the media from the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region, • Colleagues from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, • Ladies and gentlemen: I have first a confession to make: it is late and I do not have the rhetorical capacity of Veronica Pedrosa, Secretary Coloma or Chairman Richard Gordon. Therefore, I shall keep my speech short. In the name of the ICRC, we want to thank you for your participation in this event. It is the first time that such a sizeable group of senior editors and leading media personalities from the AsiaPacific region joined the ICRC to discuss the challenges of reporting on situations of violence and other emergencies. With a long history in Asia and the Pacific, the ICRC has adapted its activities and humanitarian response to the diversity of situations that are present in the region. When we started to work here in the Philippines 50 years ago, we visited only political detainees. Today, we are working on a diversified range of activities still driven by humanitarian needs. We work with the national authorities to address globally the causes of overcrowding in prisons and jails; we enhance livelihoods of vulnerable communities affected by armed conflicts, violence or hardships such as natural disasters and forced displacements with our main partner, the Philippine Red Cross. And we talk to the media now!

We need to engage with the media on key issues that have an enormous impact on people's lives. You play an important role in helping us to identify and respond to humanitarian needs. This conference is a valuable way to enrich the dialogue and approaches tackling issues at the level of the Asia Pacific region. We recognize that the media in Asia Pacific countries represent a major and growing source of influence worldwide, and we want to hear your views. We want to hear your perspectives on important regional issues that significantly affect people's lives and livelihoods, such as migration, environmental degradation, and rising inequalities. You report the news, but you also form opinion – and that, in turn, shapes events and developments in society. You, the media of Asia Pacific, have a key role to play in raising awareness of violence, emergencies and other issues faced by vulnerable communities. In recent years, there have been huge changes in the way facts and information are gathered, shared, received, and talked about. You had to adapt to a changing environment. We must recognize that technological and social developments have an impact on media coverage of conflict, emergencies and their related humanitarian consequences. These changes have also an impact on the conduct of our own humanitarian activities. Some of these thematics were

tackled today at this Conference: the impact of social media, "citizen journalism", media independence, the responsibility of media in emergencies, and the safety of journalists. We wish to thank the participants—a distinguished group of media leaders, movers and shakers—for their efforts resulting in today's declaration, making recommendations and sharing best practices. We thank you for your openness and willingness to reflect on these issues today. We are hopeful this event shall not be a one-off initiative. As follow-up: • we can expand the network of media professionals supporting this venture on Facebook, Twitter and other social media; • we will share the presentations and speeches, which will be made available shortly on the ICRC website; and • in the "old-fashioned" way, we encourage you to stay in touch with the ICRC delegations in your respective countries—my colleagues in the region would certainly be interested in advancing today's discussions. • and finally we are pleased to say that there will be another regional conference with Asia Pacific media in 2013

We all hope that you will take these proposals to cover situations of violence and emergencies safely, fairly, accurately and responsibly forward and promote them among your colleagues and counterparts in Asia Pacific and the rest of the world. We hope this Conference today shall contribute to a positive and concrete difference for the lives of many people in the Asia Pacific Region. Maraming salamat po sa inyong pagdalo. Thank you all for coming. I wish you all a very good evening and a safe return home.

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