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Monday, 3 November 2014

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2014, 2 November.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, 2 November.

Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity

A free and open press is part of the bedrock of democracy and development.  Yet in the last ten years, more than 700 journalists have been killed for simply doing their job. Some cases have received international attention – others less so.
In the last year alone, for example, at least 17 Iraqi journalists have been executed. Many more journalists and media workers around the world suffer from intimidation, death threats and violence.
Nine out of ten cases go unpunished. As a result, criminals are emboldened.  People are scared to speak out about corruption, political repression or other violations of human rights.
This must stop.
That is why the United Nations declared November 2nd as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
We have a UN Action Plan to help create a safe environment for journalists and media workers everywhere. By ending impunity, we deepen freedom of expression and bolster dialogue.
We advance human rights and strengthen societies. No journalist anywhere should have to risk their life to report the news.
Together, let us stand up for journalists – and stand up for justice

Ban Ki-moon.

Today, we celebrate the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
Recognizing the contribution of press to democracy, peace and good governance, the General Assembly proclaimed this day in a landmark resolution adopted in 2013.
Every day around the world, journalists risk their lives to shed the spotlight on important issues, such as the plight of populations caught in violence and conflicts, on people who stand up for their fundamental rights, on the struggles of the poorest and most vulnerable. By giving a voice to those who do not have one, they contribute to building open and transparent societies, where citizens can make informed decisions.
But their essential work can be fraught with dangers: in the last decade, over 700 journalists lost their lives and many more have been victims of intimidation, imprisonment, harassment, kidnapping and torture. Whenever these crimes go unpunished, they foster a climate of fear and impunity and deprive journalists of their freedom.
On this inaugural International Day, I call on Member States to take all necessary measures to promote a safe working environment for journalists and to prosecute crimes against them. For a safer world for journalists is a better world for all of us.
Sam Kahamba Kutesa

 Message from Ms Irina Bokova,Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the Inaugural International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, 2 November 2014.

Freedom of expression is a basic human right that is essential for human dignity, for the rule of law and for good governance. In times of change as we are now living, it is especially important to provide citizens with the information they need to make knowledgeable decisions about their lives and societies.

For this, we rely on journalists and the news media, together with social media producers who practice journalism. But their safety is not guaranteed--they face threats, harassment, violence, and even death.
The threat is grave. On average, one journalist is killed per week, and while fatalities include foreign correspondents, the vast majority of victims are local,covering local stories, living in a climate of impunity. This allows perpetrators to continue attacks without restraint, further crippling the free flow of information.
Impunity is poisonous–it leads to self-censorship for fear of reprisal,depriving society of even more sources of significant information.

In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, to raise awareness about the challenge of impunity and mobilise action against it. The date marks the assassination of two journalists, Gislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon,in Mali on 2 November 2013.

The United Nations General Assembly tasked UNESCO as the lead UN agency of this Day, working with all relevant partners. This is the goal of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, spearheaded by UNESCO, bringing together UN agencies, governments,international community and civil society, to make real progress on the ground.

On this first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, I appeal to all Governments to ensure a swift and thorough investigation every time a journalist is killed, and to all partners for stronger cooperation to enhance the safety of journalists. Impunity must not be allowed.

On 2 November, we must stand together to ensure every journalist can do their job safely.

Irina Bokova

Analysis of Killing of Journalists

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