UNESCO has today released key findings from its Director General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, focussed on the years 2014-2015. The report shows that the year 2015 had the second highest number of journalist’s killed in the past ten years. Measured by the total number of journalists killed doing their work of reporting to the public, the freedom of the press is in decline. In the past decade, by UNESCO’s figures, a total of 827 journalists were killed, and in 764 of those cases – more than ninety percent – those responsible for the crimes have not been brought to justice, based on information provided by the States where the killings took place. UNESCO states that this failure to prosecute killers of journalists encourages further violence against journalists. Working as a journalist remains unacceptably dangerous in many regions.
However, UNESCO also highlights a more encouraging trend recently. In the latest two-year period 40 out of 62 member states responded to UNESCO’s requests for information about judicial follow-ups to the killings of journalists, compared to just 16 out of 59 issued in 2014 (which covered the years 2012-2013). The proportion of cases reported by States as having been resolved has also risen slightly to 8 percent. UNESCO welcomes what it sees as a growing recognition among States of the importance of the process of monitoring these figures and the need to give attention to impunity.
The DG’s report has been published yearly since 2008. Past reports have analysed the killing of journalists and discovered patterns in declining press freedom.
Also to mark the Day to End Impunity, UNESCO have launched an awareness campaign hoping to draw attention to the ongoing fight for justice for murdered journalists. The campaign is called, My Killers are Still Free.
To mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists CFOM will be hosting our Annual Lecture, this year from Guy Berger.
CFOM is dedicated to supporting efforts by governments, Inter-Governmental Organisations, media, academics and NGOS, to protect journalists worldwide from violent attacks, abuses and the arbitrary application of laws. To facilitate the collaboration of international researchers on media freedom, and to extend and deepen understanding of the important factors in the field of journalism safety and the struggle against impunity, CFOM will soon to launch our Journalism Safety Research Network, with the support of UNESCO. If you are a researcher of journalistic safety who would benefit from participating in the network please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the necessary details for joining.