Philadelphia and New York, USA
In his message to mark International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council have all condemned attacks against journalists and is calling for ensuring their safety.
In a press statement copied to West African Journal Magazine on Wednesday, the U.N head averred that “In just the past few weeks, a renowned investigative journalist was murdered by a bomb that booby-trapped her car; another was dismembered in the course of researching her story; and a photojournalist was found dead after being forced to leave his home at gunpoint.”
He recounted statistics which indicate that from 2006 to 2016, 930 journalists and media workers were killed. “Thousands of others routinely face sexual harassment, intimidation, detention and ill treatment. Rampant impunity then compounds the crimes. In nine out of ten cases, the perpetrators are never brought to justice, ‘ Secretary Guterres said.
It is in recognition of the far-reaching consequences of impunity, especially of crimes against journalists, the UN General Assembly IN 2013 adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 (link is external) at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI).
That resolution urged all UN Member States to implement definite measures to counter the present culture of impunity. November 2 commemorates the date in 2013 when two French journalists in Mali were assassinated.
According to Secretary General Guterres, “When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole also pay the price. The kind of news that gets silenced – corruption, conflicts of interest, illegal trafficking — is exactly the kind of information the public needs to know.”
He disclosed that the United Nations system has also endorsed a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adding that “We are committed to helping to create the environment journalists need to perform their vital work. I am mobilizing a network of focal points from throughout the UN system to propose specific steps to intensify our efforts to enhance the safety of journalists and media workers.”
In solidarity with journalists on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the UN Secretary General called ” for justice — in memory of all journalists who have been killed, and in recognition of the importance of free and independent media in advancing development and peace,” the press statement said.
In a report entitled CPJ’s 2017 Global Impunity Index which highlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free, published at the end of October this year, the Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) listed the African nations of Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.
SOMALIA: Journalists killed with complete impunity in past decade: 26
Getting away with murder: Militant groups like al-Shabaab, government officials.
Targeted for murder: Local journalists covering politics, culture, and war.
Progress: None since early 2016, when military courts sentenced suspects in connection to six murders.
SOUTH SUDAN: Journalists killed with complete impunity in past decade: 5.
Getting away with murder: Unknown.
Targeted for murder: Local journalists covering politics and war.
NIGERIA: Journalists killed with complete impunity in past decade: 5.
Getting away with murder: Extremist group Boko Haram, unknown assailants.
Targeted for murder: Local journalists covering war, politics, and human rights.
Video: Courtesy of CPJ
Reporting by Emmanuel Abalo
Philadelphia, PA USA