In memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia - International Day to End Impunity for Crimes againt Journalists.
CAIRO – 4 November 2017: Every day, journalists around the world risk their lives to report issues that impact the lives of individuals in all societies. They shine light on abuses and corruption, and thus they live under threat from those who wish to silence them. Actually, the kind of news that gets “silenced” is exactly the kind that the public needs to know.
Recently, on October 17, Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated while driving near her home on the island of Malta around 3 p.m., when her vehicle exploded.
The 53-year-old journalist died just one hour after her last article was published, in which she reported on the Maltese political leadership’s connections to the Panama Papers. Her article mentioned that Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat received money from the ruling family of Azerbaijan. She covered a libel case against the prime minister’s chief of staff, who was accused of setting up a secret company in Central America.
Daphne Caruana Galizia
#MyFightAgainstImpunity is the new social media campaign launched by UNESCO and its partners on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, as less than one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction.
My Fight Against Impunity Campaign - Photo (1)
My Fight Against Impunity Campaign - Photo (2)
“Stop Attacking the Media” was UNESCO’s message for International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists 2017.
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163, which proclaimed November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, in Mali on November 2, 2013.They were seen being beaten before they were driven away in a truck.
November hasn’t only witnessed the incident of the French journalists, but also the murder of 32 journalists, along with 26 other civilians, on November 23, 2009 in Ampatuan, Philippines. This massacre is ranked fifth in the world in terms of impunity on killings of journalists, as stated in the 2017 Global Impunity Index of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
According to information that member states provided to the organization in 2017, 90% percent of cases concerning the killing of journalists remain unpunished, which is even an improvement compared to last year, when countries’ answers to UNESCO’s written enquiries indicated that only 8% of such cases led to a conviction.
The forthcoming “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development: Global Report 2017/2018” states that between 2006 and 2016, UNESCO condemned the killing of 930 journalists. And 102 of these journalists were killed in 2016 alone. However, 2012 is considered the deadliest year for journalists, as 124 cases were condemned.
My Fight Against Impunity Campaign - Photo (3)
These statistics do not include the many more journalists who on a daily basis suffer from non-fatal attacks, including torture, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations. Furthermore, there are specific risks faced by female journalists, including sexual attacks.
When attacks on journalists remain unpunished, a very negative message is sent – that reporting the “embarrassing truth” or “unwanted opinions” will get ordinary people in trouble. Furthermore, society loses confidence in its own judiciary system, which is meant to protect everyone from attacks on their rights. Also, perpetrators of crimes against journalists are thus emboldened when they realize they can attack their targets without ever facing justice.
In 2017, as part of UNESCO’s efforts to monitor the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, it invited the 62 member states where cases remained unresolved to provide information on the status of judicial investigations.
The Jakarta Declaration has been a good initiative as well, which was adopted by 1,500 participants at the global celebration of the 2017 World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta, Indonesia. The declaration “condemns all forms of violence, aggression and intimidation against journalists and recognizing in particular the specific threats faced by women journalists, including sexual harassment.”
“The news is filled with reports of our colleagues – journalists getting killed, wounded, imprisoned all over the world,” said Christiane Amanpour, UNESCO goodwill ambassador for freedom of expression and journalist safety. “We, the press, must continue to fight for an end to impunity.”
My Fight Against Impunity Campaign - Photo (4)
My Fight Against Impunity Campaign - Photo (5)
This day is one of a number of campaigns raised by the United Nations to urge leaders and governments to prevent violence against journalists. There are also a number of similar days, like World Press Freedom Day.