The International Federation of Journalists is to launch a global campaign today, Nov. 2—the UN day of action—to end impunity for crimes targeting journalists. The campaign and related events will continue around the world until Monday, Nov. 23.
The UN day marks the anniversary of the killing of two Radio France Internationale reporters, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, murdered in Mali in 2013. Nov. 23 commemorates the date in 2009 when at least 32 journalists lost their lives in the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines.
“All attacks targeting journalists that remain unpunished must be denounced,” said an IFJ spokesperson. “The month of November is the time when journalists and media workers have an opportunity to speak out and actively support the End Impunity campaign.”
In the past decade, 700 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public: on average one death every week. In nine out of 10 cases, the killers go unpunished.
Impunity leads to more killings and is often a symptom of worsening conflict and the breakdown of law and justice systems. Unesco warns that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime.
Governments, civil society, the media, and everyone concerned to uphold the rule of law are being asked to join in the global efforts to end impunity.
The UN urges member states to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.
It further calls upon states to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
Robert Harland is a British expatriate living in Bacolod City.