UN Day to End Impunity: Governments Must Protect Media Workers as Attacks Spiral Out of Control

The International Federation of Journalists is marking the inaugural ‘UN Day to End Impunity’ by calling on governments worldwide to address the issue of impunity for violence against journalists as intimidation, abuse and violence of media workers continues to escalate.

The UN’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists was adopted on 18 December 2013 and will be marked for the first time this Sunday, 2 November, the first anniversary of the killings of two French RFI reporters, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, murdered in Kidal, Mali in 2013.

The first UN Day is being marked as the IFJ confirms that the death toll of killed journalists has reached nearly 100 for the year, with more deaths expected amid the increasing violence in countries such as Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Ukraine.

To date this year, Pakistan is the country with the highest number of journalists killed at 13, while nine journalists were murdered amid the conflict in Palestine during the summer, and the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine have claimed seven journalist lives so far, the same number as in Afghanistan. In Syria and Iraq, the threat of IS has introduced a new dimension to the abuse of journalists.

“2014 will be sadly remembered not just as another tragic year where journalists are routinely killed, but for the barbaric clips of the beheadings of the US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff which will stay with us forever. This is a new dimension that we have never seen before and we are determined to bring to an end,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

“We are of course grateful that the international institutions have established the UN Day to End Impunity, but they should be doing more to make governments take responsibility for the security and protection of journalists.”

The IFJ has called on its affiliates and members worldwide to join its End Impunity campaign by taking actions that urge the authorities of the countries with the highest death tolls of journalists to investigate these killings and bring their perpetrators to justice.

“I appeal to all of you to help do everything you can to help us roll back this dreadful scourge and save the lives of our colleagues,” said Boumelha. “There is much we can do. The only unacceptable option is to do nothing.”

The UN day comes ahead of another important date of 23 November, which commemorates the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines when at least 32 journalists lost their lives in the single deadliest attack on media. Since 2011, this day has been adopted by IFEX members as the International Day against Impunity.

From 2-23 November, the IFJ will roll out the End Impunity campaign with a series of actions including statements, video messages, a social media campaign and a Thunderclap campaign.

Find out more about the End Impunity campaign and how you can support it on the IFJ website.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries