There has never been a more dangerous time for journalists. They are being killed and imprisoned worldwide in record numbers. They face daily threats, attacks and intimidation from private individuals, non-state actors, and government officials who seek to silence them. The overwhelming majority of these crimes are committed with impunity.
Those responsible for 9 out of 10 journalist murders go unpunished.
Freely available for you to download and publish below is a series of editorials from our World Editors Forum members that highlight the issue of impunity. We urge you to share your experiences of dealing with impunity and the safety of journalists so that we can help inform our global community of how best to tackle threats to freedom of expression. Together, we are strong enough to #EndImpunity
Here are links to the editorials which are free to anyone to republish with attribution to the World Editors Forum and the authors.
- End impunity for crimes against journalists, Erik Bjerager
- Killing of journalists: the show never stops, by Zaffar Abbas
- Free media essential for stability, by Joseph Odindo
And here is a piece of reportage on impunity we are offering in addition, with attribution.
- Social media in ‘silent zones’: crimes against journalists and getting away with murder in realtime, by Alice Matthews and Julie Posetti
- How can we improve coverage of cases where killers of journalists get away with murder? Seven case studies and five tips curated by the World Editors Forum by Julie Posetti
The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity
The Plan of Action aims to creating of a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide. Its measures include, among other undertakings, the establishment of a coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues related to the safety of journalists as well as assisting countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favourable to freedom of expression and information, and supporting their efforts to implement existing international rules and principles.
To further reinforce prevention, the Plan recommends working in cooperation with governments, media houses, professional associations and NGOs to conduct awareness raising campaigns on a wide range of issues such as existing international instruments and conventions, the growing dangers posed by emerging threats to media professionals, including non-state actors, as well as various existing practical guides on the safety of journalists. (Download the Plan, or visit the website to learn more)
Where the #EndImpunity campaign began
In November 2011, IFEX launched its inaugural campaign to end impunity, after the IFEX membership identified the issue of impunity as a major obstacle to freedom of expression.
The campaign drew global attention to unresolved cases of aggression against individuals who were simply exercising their free expression rights and marked, on 23 November, the anniversary of the 2009 Maguindanao, Ampatuan massacre, when 58 people – including 32 journalists and media workers – were murdered in the Philippines. To date, none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice.
Since the first year, there have been notable developments in the global campaign against impunity. In December 2013, the United Nations passed a Resolution on the safety of journalists, and declared 2 November the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
IFEX 2014 End Impunity campaign activities
- Lobbying of UN member states: On 2 October 2014, IFEX sent a letter to all permanent United Nations missions asking them to formally recognise the Resolution, to release a statement on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, and to encourage their governments to comply with requests for information for the Director-General of UNESCO’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity.
- Providing online resources: From a fact-sheet on the UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, to the “Six Things You Need to Know about the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists”, a revamped impunity “hotspots” map and much more, IFEX has the resources to help groups and individuals navigate the UN mechanisms that can help bring about tangible, global progress in the fight against impunity.
- Commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre: IFEX is running a digital campaign from 17 to 23 November. Individuals are being asked to send tweets demanding justice in arguably the worst case of impunity for crimes against the media on record – no convictions yet for the murders of 32 journalists and media workers in one attack in the Philippines, on 23 November 2009.
See also the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) latest research on the anti-impunity struggle: ‘The Road to Justice’