IFJ launches 3-week campaign against impunity
The campaign will kick-off on 2 November marking International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists and run until 23 November, the anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre in the Philippines, in which at least 32 media workers were killed.
The Federation has recorded 1064 killings of media professionals in the past 10 years. Yet, only one murder in every ten is punished. According to UNESCO, 93% of the victims are local journalists.
“Impunity occurs when those who place a bomb under a journalist’s car remain seated in the institutions of a state or on the board of directors of a large company”, the Federation says.
The IFJ campaign will focus on 5 countries – Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Somalia, Ukraine – countries where the level of impunity for abusing, jailing, attacking and killing journalists has been high, taking into account the levels of violence against journalists in the respective countries and the systematic failure of the authorities to fight impunity.
In Palestine the situation is particularly tense for journalists with media professionals being a target for the Israeli authorities. In the Gaza Strip, journalists, as well as citizens, are paying the price of the clashes in an area where the political context is extremely sensitive. In the last decade, 31 journalists were killed including 3 foreigners in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Palestian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) reports. Among them, 28 were killed by the Israeli forces, 2 by gunmen in Gaza and 1 by Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. None of the killers in these 31 murders have been punished.
The National Association of Journalists of Peru (ANP) has recorded a total of 64 journalists murdered since 1980, 61 of those cases remained unresolved. The impunity rate for crimes against journalists in the country is 98%. Although there have been trials in which killers have sometimes been judged, most of them were hired killers and the masterminds of the crimes have practically never been identified and punished.
In the Philippines, the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) has recorded <“>186 killings since 1986, only 17 of which have been resolved. While the killing of 32 journalists in Maguidanao is seen as the most massive killing of media workers and an emblematic case of impunity, the Duterte administration’s attitude towards the press and its constant harassment and abuse of media professionals perpetrates the belief that media harassers escape justice.
In Somalia, 55 journalists have been killed since 2010, including 8 foreigners, while only 4 killers have been punished. The Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabab are held responsible for many attacks, assassinations and kidnappings since their inception,including of journalists and media workers. The climate of fear that surrounds media professionals has a chilling effect on freedom of expression and the broader struggle to expose human rights abuses across Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) reports.
Ukraine is a dangerous country for journalists, especially in the city and region of Kyiv. Sixteen journalists have been killed since 1995 including 7 foreigners. Media ownership is in the hands of oligarchs that makes journalists’ work complicated and hard. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) highlights the fact that cases of harasmment of journalists during the 2013-14 euromaiden protestshas never been addressed. During t last presidential election journalists were attacked,threatened and faced unwarranted surveillance. No one has ever been punished for the killing of Georgiy Gongadze whose body was found in November 2000, decapitated and covered in acid.
IFj President Youness Mjahed said: “To speak about impunity for crimes against journalists is to speak about injustice, silence and institutional complicity with the killers. Today we call on all our affiliates across the world to join our global campaign to express their strong rejection of the levelofimpunity that leaves many victims’ families powerless and many colleagues afraid of telling the truth. Fighting impunity for crimes against journalists is a necessity for all of us, beyond the media circle. There is no free press if those who order or commit killings remain comfortably safe forcing media to hide the truth and terrorising those who take risks to reveal it.”