Azerbaijan: working with journalists to reduce impact of minesand explosive remnants of war
16-11-2006 News Release
The ICRC, in close cooperation with the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and the Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines (AzCBL), held a workshop for local journalists to raise awareness about the important role of the media in reducing the problems caused by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).
Nine journalists from affected regions of Azerbaijan attended the workshop on mine action, which was held from 14 to 16 November 2006 in Khanlar, a city in the Western part of the country.
During the workshop, presentations on preventive mine action and mine victim assistance took place, as well as on the international norms related to mines and ERW. Journalists also had an opportunity to witness a mine-clearance conducted by the ANAMA, as well as visit a project of reintegration of mine victims through vocational rehabilitation and establishment of a mine survivors'association. The ICRC mine action responsible from the northern Caucasus and a journalist from Chechnya shared their experience of working with media on mine related issues in Chechnya. Both of them had a chance to learn about the mine action activities in Azerbaijan and in particular the important role of the national mine action centre there.
" During the workshop I became aware that this issue is a serious problem for the civilian population, and we should constantly keep it in our focus. Apart from providing information, which we have done so far, we should educate people on how to protect themselves from the threat of mines. Journalists have a moral responsibility to support mine victims. As of today, I have decided that this issue will be regularly on the agenda of our newspaper, bearing in mind the high level of mine risk in the Terter region, " said Tofig Yusif, chief editor of the New Terter newspaper.
" By working together, the journalists and mine action actors can effectively contribute to reducing the risk from mines and ERW for the civilian population. The stories published by journalists about victims and other problems caused by mines and ERW raise awareness about the devastating effect of these weapons on people's lives – and of possible solutions – and contribute to the overall efforts to reduce impact, " said Herbi Elmazi, ICRC regional mine action advisor of CIS countries.
The ICRC is working globally, often together with national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to reduce the suffering caused by mines and ERW. Although the focus is increasingly on reducing the risk by ensuring concrete solutions to the problem in affected communities, work with the media can be an important element of these activities.