Posted on 11/02/2022 09:11 AM Updated on 11/02/2022 10:58 AM
end impunity. Eight prosecutors from as many countries, gathered by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on Wednesday called on their colleagues to act and condemn crimes against journalists.
50 professionals have already been killed since early 2022. Worse, these crimes go unpunished nine times out of ten, UNESCO denounced in a report also released on Wednesday.
Even if the impunity rate has fallen by nine points in the last ten years, this decline is still “very insufficient to stem the spiral of violence,” UNESCO fears. The organization therefore reiterates its call to take all necessary measures to ensure that crimes committed against journalists are properly investigated and their perpetrators convicted.
More than 1,000 journalists have been killed since 2010
RSF’s appeal comes on the occasion of “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists”, declared by the UN to commemorate Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, two French reporters from RFI who were murdered in Mali exactly nine years ago was called to life. The NGO says it wants to “let prosecutors in difficult situations know they are not alone and victims that they can get justice”.
“We are appalled that, according to the RSF, more than 1,000 journalists and media workers have been murdered worldwide since 2010 and 118 have disappeared since 2016,” explain the first signatories of the text, eight prosecutors working in particular in Mexico, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, United Kingdom or Serbia.
No safe place
“For the year 2022 alone, 50 have already been killed because of or in the exercise of their information mandate,” these judicial actors continue. Notably among them are Matus Harkabus, the prosecutor responsible for the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak in Slovakia, former Attorney General of Brazil Raquel Dodge and current Attorney General of Gambia Hussein Thomasi.
In the past two years, the deadliest regions for journalists have been Latin America and the Caribbean and, to a lesser extent, Asia-Pacific. Paradoxically, in 2021 only 36% of journalists were killed in countries that experienced armed conflicts, while 64% of murders of journalists took place in countries that did not face this type of conflict.
On the other hand, the report notes an increase in the number of journalists killed during riots or demonstrations: six in 2020-2021 versus three in 2016-2017. Unesco warns that there is no safe place for journalists.
Crimes without punishment
In addition, “almost 90% of crimes against journalists unfortunately go unpunished,” complained the signatories to the RSF appeal. They cite the case of Mexico, where “88% of the murders of journalists go unpunished”, or the Philippines, where “the main perpetrators of the massacre of 32 journalists in 2009 are still at large”. Likewise, “the sponsors of the attacks on Norbert Zongo in Burkina Faso in 1998, on Anna Politkovskaïa in Russia in 2006, on Gauri Lankesh in India in 2017 and many others remain unpunished by the authorities for culpable negligence, even camouflage”, is it[called
To change the situation, RSF encourages the profession to honor a dozen commitments. They urge journalists to “resist pressure of all kinds,” “to conduct impartial investigations,” or even “to cooperate with their international peers.” Hoping to “provoke awareness at the international level”.