Yesterday, 2 November, marked the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. This UN-recognised day draws attention to the high impunity rate for violent crimes against journalists and media professionals.
In an attempt to increase the conviction rate for crimes against journalists, every year UNESCO Director General’s requests member states to provide information on the status of judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists in their country. Every two years, the findings are compiled in the Director General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity. This biennial report was commissioned by the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) as a means for states to demonstrate their commitment to addressing crimes against journalists and media workers by providing detailed information on the steps being taken to achieve justice and end impunity.
Every year, Free Press Unlimited and IFEX assist UNESCO in stimulating member states to respond to UNESCO Director General’s request, and thus to increase the response rate of member states. In 2020, 71 percent of member states who were contacted by UNESCO responded to the request to provide an update on the status of judicial enquiries on the killings of journalists. This marks a 10 percent increase in comparison to 2019.
Key findings of the 2020 Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity (on the period 2018-2019) were published on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
- In 2018-2019, UNESCO recorded a total of 156 killings of journalists worldwide. Overall, over the past decade, a journalist has been killed on average every four days. The year 2019 shows the lowest death toll recorded by UNESCO in the last decade with 57 deaths.
- Impunity for crimes against journalists continues to prevail. 2020 saw, however, a slight decrease in the rate of impunity, with a percentage of 13 percent of cases worldwide reported as resolved in comparison to 12 percent in 2019, and 11 percent in 2018.
- In 2019, the highest number of fatal attacks occurred in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, representing 40 percent of the total killings registered worldwide, followed by the Asia and the Pacific region with 26 percent of killings.
- In 2018-2019, 89 journalists were killed in countries with no armed (54 in 2018; and 35 in 2019). The numbers killed in countries with armed conflict was 67 (45 in 2018 and 22 in 2019).
Read moreSee here for the full text of UNESCO’s brochure for the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The full report will be presented at the IPDC Council (25-26 November).
See here for more information on what can be done to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
Free Press Live 2020
To commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Free Press Unlimited organised the fifth edition of Free Press Live – Stand up for Journalists and Justice on 5 November. This annual event aims to highlight the importance of safety for journalists and ending impunity for crimes against journalists.
This edition took place in the form of a live webinar. The renowned journalist Maria Ressa was honored with the Free Press Award for Most Resilient Journalist. The Newcomer of the Year – Hans Verploeg Award was rewarded to Bianca Albu. This Romanian journalist uncovered links between a money laundering network belonging to the Spanish Royal family, a corrupt Romanian politician, and the local police, and showed great determination when she got confronted with political aggression in the first year of her career. Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparancy, gave the keynote speech. All speakers underlined the importance of reliable information and the safety of journalists. See below for the full webinar: