Today marks the 8th annual International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, as recognised by the UN. This day exists to highlight the 90 percent of violent crimes committed against journalists that do not end in convictions.
Over 1000 journalists and media workers have been killed between 2006-2017 for simply doing their jobs and informing society, according to the UN.
To put these numbers into perspective, a statement from UNESCO reads: “Each year, one journalist gets a Pulitzer, and 100 get shot.”
UNESCO, along with DDB Paris (a french organisation committed to protecting the integrity of journalism), have created the campaign #TruthNeverDies to commemorate the day. The campaign also aims to honour the legacy of fallen journalists by sharing their investigations and articles.
In a tweet, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shared the Global Impunity Index for 2018:
These are the countries where journalists get killed and the killers go free:#Somalia#Syria#Iraq
India#EndImpunity #IDEI #ImpunityIndexhttps://t.co/r5Eu63AmVa pic.twitter.com/wJkR2gNWLC
— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) November 2, 2018
In UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the world on the issue, he stated: “When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price. I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity. I call on Governments and the international community to protect journalists and create the conditions they need to do their work.”
He continued: “On this day, I pay tribute to journalists who do their jobs every day despite intimidation and threats. Their work — and that of their fallen colleagues — reminds us that truth never dies. Neither must our commitment to the fundamental right to freedom of expression.”
The most recent and internationally pertinent case of a journalist being murdered, is that of Jamal Khashoggi; A Saudi journalist killed for being a critic of the royal family in Saudi Arabia, and advocating for a free press.
UN human rights experts released a statement in recognition of today’s importance urging states to fight for justice for Khashoggi, as well as all of the other journalists who have lost their lives for doing their jobs: “States have not responded adequately to these crimes against journalists. Most recently, States and the international community, including the United Nations, have failed to address the enforced disappearance and murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.”
They continued: “The only way forward is to establish an independent, transparent and credible investigation into his murder, one authorised by and reporting to the United Nations. Anything short of a complete investigation, recognised as such by the international community, will make a mockery of government claims of commitment to the safety of journalists.”
People on Twitter have also been paying homage to the internationally recognised day:
November 2 The International Day to End #Impunity It is a sad truth of today’s world that the life of a journalist is often a dangerous one. A culture of impunity often obstructs our search for justice for the crimes against reporters. @CPJ_Eurasia @CPJ
— Myroslava Gongadze (@MGongadze) November 2, 2018
Support the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. On November 2, speak out for all murdered journalists using the hashtags #EndImpunity #TruthNeverDies #journosafe @NewspaperWorld @WorldEditors https://t.co/EXTYSl9aeh pic.twitter.com/5bbIWnyz8L
— Vincent Peyregne (@vincentpeyregne) October 26, 2018
Words: Georgia Hansen | Subbing: Memuna Konteh