Talking about impunity for crimes against journalists means talking about injustice, silence and institutional involvement with the killers. Talking about impunity for crime means talking about corruption, cases that go unreported, fear, censorship, and families without compensation. An unpunished crime also occurs when those who put a bomb under a journalist’s car remain sitting in state institutions or on the boards of large companies, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
On the eve of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, November 2, the IFJ condemns the fact that only one in 10 crimes against media workers has been investigated and that those countries that do not investigate crimes against and provide justice are not disclosed. “The practice of impunity reigns and only by raising our voices together can we change this situation,” IFJ urges.
This year, special emphasis is placed on five countries: the Philippines, Somalia, Peru, Palestine and Ukraine.
Only 1 in 10 killings of media workers is punished
According to IFJ, 1,064 journalists have been killed in the last 10 years. So far in 2019, 30 have been killed. However, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of these killings do not occur in war zones, but on the street or at home and in the middle of the day. Moreover, according to UNESCO, 93% of the victims were local journalists. When you are a journalist, picking up your children from school can be more dangerous than reporting from a war zone.
These cold-blooded murders seek to hide the truth and terrorize those who dare to reveal it. These murders not only interrupt the lives of journalists; they also abolish the fundamental right of people to be informed and to know the truth. “To kill a journalist and get away with it is to kill democracy.” the IFJ said.
What can you do
The International Federation of Journalists calls on everyone to raise their voice together and insist on truth. In November, IFJ plans to continue lobbying for the international Convention against impunity, to invite other international organizations to join them, to report on the issue in the media, and to invite all of you to join the campaign.
They suggest that you write to your own or to other governments holding them accountable for their impunity records. Letter forms for several countries are available on their pages.
They also suggest organizing protests, paying tribute to the murdered journalists and media coverage of the campaign on November 2 and 23. They also called on the hardest hit, the families left behing murdered journalists, to share their thoughts on why it is important to secure justice.
They also called on the unions to get involved in the campaign. Trade Union of Croatian Journalists and media professionals has accepted that call.
The UN Day against Impunity for violence targeting journalists was adopted in 2013 and marks the anniversary of the killings of two RFI reporters, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, murdered in Kidal, Mali in 2013.
The UN Day comes ahead of another important date – 23 November – which commemorates the 2009 Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines when at least 32 journalists lost their lives in the single deadliest attack on media.