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Global campaign to end impunity for crimes against journalists

Friday 23 October 2015, by SIGNIS

Brussels, October 23rd, 2015 (SIGNS/International Federation of Journalists).The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has launched this week its annual global campaign to hold world governments and de facto authorities accountable for impunity records for crimes targeting journalists.

The campaign will run from November 2, the UN Day against impunity for crime targeting journalists, to November 23. The UN Day to end impunity was adopted on 18 December 2013 to be marked November 2, the anniversary of the killings of two RFI reporters, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, murdered in Kidal, Mali in 2013. It comes ahead of November 23 which commemorates the 2009 Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines when at least 32 journalists lost their lives in the single deadliest attack on media.

In a letter addressed to its affiliates on October 20, the IFJ has called for massive support to denounce any crime targeting journalists that remain unpunished the world over. Murder is the highest form of these crimes but “all attacks targeting journalists that remain unpunished must be denounced”, says the organisation.

The 2015 campaign will put a specific emphasis on four countries: Mexico, the Philippines, Ukraine and Yemen.

In Mexico, 50 journalists and press workers have lost their lives in the course of their profession since 2010. According to the Mexican ‘National Human Rights Commission’ (CNDH) around 89% of cases of aggression are not solved.
IFJ has also recorded 15 journalists killed in Yemen since 2011, ten of whom have died in 2015. In addition, 14 reporters remain captive as a consequence of the fighting between the Houthis, the Saudi led-coalition and al-Qaida. None of the perpetrators of the killings has been brought to justice.

Furthermore, the IFJ regrets that not a single person has been convicted for their involvement since the 2009 Ampatuan Massacre of 32 journalists in the Philippines. Forty media workers were killed since 2009, including 7 in 2015, which makes the country the deadliest for journalists in South Asia.

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Georgy Gongadze

In the meanwhile, fifteen years after the body of Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze was found beheaded in the forest outside Kiev, a recent report on the violations against journalists in the country records 8 killings, 125 intimidations, 322 assaults, 162 attempts of censorship and 196 cases of impeding activities since the beginning of 2014. If 54 investigations were launched, only three cases passed to court.

“Today only one out of 10 killings in the media is investigated, “said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “ We urge all our affiliates to get involved in our campaign to denounce impunity, support our actions and run their own activities to show solidarity to those who struggle for telling the truth and their loved ones. Impunity not only endangers journalists. It imperils democracy and the right for the public to know. It is more than time for bringing those who kill the messengers to justice and we must relentlessly hold governments accountable for this”.

The IFJ will organise several activities around UN impunity day.
Find out more about the campaign.

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