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'My Killers are Still Free' campaign to add pressure in fight for justice for murdered journalists

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'My Killers are Still Free' campaign to add pressure in fight for justice for murdered journalists

Even with all of the data and information gathered by UNESCO in the 2016 Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, the findings point to the fact that impunity for crimes against journalists is deeply entrenched worldwide.  

Of the 59 Member States that have reported data on cases involving murdered journalists over the past decade, UNESCO only has information on 402 cases out of 827. Among the 402, only 63 have been reported to be resolved. That means only 8 percent of all cases involving killed journalists have been solved. 

If there is any silver lining, it comes from the fact that almost 65 percent of the countries where journalists have been killed for their work responded to the request from UNESCO's Director-General for data about judicial follow up. In the previous report in 2014, only 27 percent responded.

“Although we see a very clear increase in the rate of response concerning the status of judicial investigations,” Saorla McCabe, a UNESCO Programme Specialist in the Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Communication and Information Sector, told the World Editors Forum. “[The percentage] of cases that have been resolved is very low. It’s as low as it has been in previous years.”

In this report, the numbers from the past two years (2014-2015) speak for themselves. In this timespan a total of 213 journalists were killed, bringing the total number of journalists killed over the last decade to 827. With over half of those killings taking place in 2015, it became the second deadliest year for journalists in the last decade.

By location, the highest numbers of killings took place in the Arab States with 78 deaths that represent 36.5 percent of murdered journalists in the last two years. Due to the Charlie Hebdo attacks that left eight journalists dead, France trails the Syrian Arab Republic (13 killings) and Iraq (10 killings) in numbers of journalists killed by country.  
 

There was also a drastic uptick in online journalists killed in 2015--there were 21 cases compared with only two in 2014. Almost half were Syrian bloggers and online journalists covering the conflict there. Almost 90 percent of victims between 2014-2015 were local reporters, and a majority of journalists killed were television journalists. Forty freelancers and citizen journalists representing 19 percent of all cases were killed in the two-year period as well.

In the UNESCO campaign that launched today called “My Killers are Still Free,” visuals and audio testimonies from friends and lawyers of killed journalists provide insight into a collection of representative cases of lethal attacks on journalists and the lingering effects of impunity.
 
McCabe also said that sharing stories of the families of the journalists whose lives have been taken presents a way to spread awareness, something that all news professionals should do so because media freedom is in jeopardy.
 
“It may indeed not affect all countries as much,” said McCabe, “but because the dangers faced by journalists are due to their profession and what they're working on, and media professionals working around the world share that same calling, a good way to show solidarity is to highlight the findings.”
 

Author

Ko Bragg

Date

2016-11-02 10:21

Author information

The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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