According to IFJ statistics 93 journalists lost their lives when carrying out their duties since the beginning of the year. Today only one out of 10 killings in the media is investigated. The situation for non-fatal attacks on journalists is even worst. Governments fail in their duty to hunt down the harassers, the attackers, the killers of media workers. Impunity not only endangers journalists, it imperils democracy and compromises hopes for peace and development. Legal guarantees exist for the protection of journalists as civilians which states are duty bound to enforce under domestic and international law.
Our #endimpunity campaign 2016 aims at holding governments and de facto governments accountable for their impunity records and denouncing any crime targeting journalists that remain unpunished. Murder is the highest form of these crimes but all attacks targeting journalists that remain unpunished must be denounced.
India is the largest democracy in the world, with a robust judiciary and vibrant, independent media. Yet, its dismal record of punishing the murderers of journalists has made it one of the focus countries for this year’s End Impunity campaign. With 95 murders since 1990, without justice in most of the cases, impunity is rife in India. Journalists most targeted are those from small towns and rural areas and the regional language press.
Pakistan has long been among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with 102 journalists and media workers having lost their lives since 2005. Since 2010, 73 journalists and media workers have been killed: almost one journalist killed every month. The armed insurgency and sectarian violence account for a number of these killings but many of them raise suspicions of the involvement of the state’s institutions.
The crisis of violence and impunity in Mexico, one of the countries with the highest number of crimes against journalists, shows no signs of abating. Since early 2010, at least 57 journalists and press workers have lost their lives whilst exercising their profession, including 8 in 2016, in the general context of violence that is pounding the country since the beginning of the so-called “drugs war”. Alongside the assassinations, at least 20 press workers have gone missing. In areas such as Veracruz and Oaxaca, the situation is particularly delicate owing to the widespread infiltration of drug trafficking among state security forces.
In Yemen, 20 journalists have died since 2011, five of whom have been killed since the beginning of this year. In addition, around 16 have been kidnapped as a consequence of the fighting between the Houthis, the Saudi led-coalition and al-Qaida group, some of them being subject to torture, as the IFJ and its affiliate, the YJS, denounced back in April. Journalists have been accused by all the warring parties of affiliating with rival parties and serving their interest. As a result, they face the threats of being killed and tortured on a daily basis.
There can be no press freedom where journalists work in fear.
Join the campaign now, show your solidarity and support by endorsing our activities scheduled this year!
The UN Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists was adopted on 18 December 2013 and will be marked on 2 November, the second anniversary of the killings of two RFI reporters, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, murdered in Kidal, Mali in 2013.
It comes ahead of another important date of 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.
- We will organize a half day international conference in Brussels on 7 November called "Turning words into action". See programme here. Please register here. (Note that costs are not covered).
- We are collaborating with our affiliates on targeted campaigns in Mexico, India, Pakistan and Yemen to advocate for justice and resolution of cases of impunity
- We are holding governments and de facto governments of these countires accountable for their impunity records and organising different activities around this
- We are calling on intergovernmental organisations to make a stand against impunity and support our campaign
- We are organising media coverage of the issue of impunity
- Our 26th killed list will be presented at the beginning of January 2017 as a follow up to our campaign
- Sign up to the campaign to indicate that your union is supporting our actions. It will appear as such in our communications about the campaign.
- Get informed! Like our Facebook page and follow us on twitter @IFJGlobal @ifjasiapacific @IFJAfrica @FIP_AL #endimpunity to be kept informed about the campaign
- Download the campaign poster in EN, FR or ES, use it during the campaign in your electronic signature, on your twitter account, your facebook page or your web site. Encourage all your members and their friends to download it, take pictures holding it and share them on facebook, post them on twitter and attach a brief message to the President or Prime Minister of your country, urging them to take a public stand against impunity for crime targeting journalists.
- Sample for twitter: “President or Prime Minister [add name ] ,on @UN Day v. impunity what are you doing to end violence against journalists in [add name of country] #EndImpunity”
- Sample for facebook: “Dear [ add Mr/Ms President or Mr/Ms Prime Minister] ,On this UN Day against impunity for crime targeting journalists, we urge you to take a public stand against forms of violence on media professionals in [add name of your country] and direct your government’s services to investigate all attacks on journalists and media staff. Thank You” . Send it to us so that we can share with all the IFJ family.
- Send letters to your own government or to the government of targeted countries holding them accountable for their impunity records. Organise a visit to their embassies in your country to deliver the letter, take photographs and disseminate them widely, send them to us so that we can share them in our own network and support you. You may use the following samples for Mexico, Pakistan, India, Yemen
- Contact your newsroom about publishing /broadcasting stories about impunity on 2 November
- Commemorate special impunity days: UN Day against impunity for crimes against journalists (2 November).
- Organise a march or a specific activity (conference, minute's silence, group picture holding the impunity poster) to show your solidarity. Take pictures of the activities; share them on your social media and with us.
- Make a short video. If you know a colleague or a family member of a killed journalist in your country, we urge you to talk to them and ask them to make a two-minute video message about the need to secure justice for their loved ones which we can post on the IFJ website and share in our social networks. Send them to: InternIFJ(at)ifj(dot)org
Watch and share video messagesJefry Tupas Leader of the section of Mindanao National Union of Journalists in Philippines (NUJP)
The Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, UNESCO Director General’s report. This report, released every two years, includes information on judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists, and other steps that governments are taking to end impunity. The 2014 report was prepared following the Decision on the safety of journalists adopted at the 28th session of the IPDC’s Intergovernmental Council, in March 2012, urging Member States to “comply with the relevant obligations under international law to end impunity” and “to inform the Director-General of UNESCO, on a voluntary basis, of the actions taken to prevent the impunity of the perpetrators and to notify him of the status of the judicial inquiries conducted on each of the killings condemned by UNESCO”
Resolution of the UN Security Council 1738 (2006): the resolution condemns attacks against journalists in conflict situations and urge "states and all other parties to an armed conflict to do their utmost to prevent violations of international humanitarian law against civilians, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel".
Resolution of the UN Security Council 2222 (2015) urges member states to take appropriate steps to ensure accountability for crimes committed against media workers during armed conflicts and calls on all parties of an armed conflict to comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists.
UNESCO Resolution 29 “Condemnation of Violence Against Journalists” adopted by the UNESCO General Conference at its 29th session on 12 November 1997, which called on Member States to remove any statute of limitations on crimes against persons when such crimes are "perpetrated to prevent the exercise of freedom of information and expression or when their purpose is the obstruction of justice" and which urged governments to "refine legislation to make it possible to prosecute and sentence those who instigate the assassination of persons exercising the right to freedom of expression"