Marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon honoured journalists who were killed in the line of duty for merely ‘reporting the truth’.
The International Day, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly to highlight the urgent need to protect journalists, and to commemorate the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November, 2013.
More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade – one every five days – simply for bringing news and information to the public. Many perish in the conflicts they cover so fearlessly.
Noting that only 7 per cent of cases involving crimes against journalists are resolved and less that one crime out of 10 is ever fully investigated.
Mr. Ban urged collective action to end the cycle of impunity and safeguard the right of journalists to speak truth to power.
As attacks on journalists are on the rise, UNESCO has spearheaded the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which is working to end impunity by promoting concerted action among United Nations agencies, working across the world with governments, civil society, academia and the media itself.
More and more Countries are now establishing laws and mechanisms to tackle impunity and improve safety of journalists and added that the judiciary systems and security forces have increased their engagement on the issues.
However, efforts must be redoubled to ensure the end of impunity for attacks on journalists, especially since societies are undergoing transformation at present.
This is necessitated to uphold Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states “right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Ensuring protection of journalists is also vital for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16.10, which aims to facilitate public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.