One of the most critical movement for ensuring freedom of expression and access to information for all individuals is to end impunity for crimes against journalists. Over 1,200 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and delivering information to the public between 2006 and 2020. According to the reports from the UNESCO observatory of killed journalists, the perpetrator goes unpunished in nine out of 10 cases. Impunity results in an increased number of injustices and acts of violence which is frequently a symptom of escalating conflict and the breakdown of legal and judicial systems.
The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists in 2021 emphasizes the need for prosecution services to properly investigate and prosecute not just murders but also any threat of violence against journalists. This year’s campaign emphasizes the psychological damage that journalists face as a result of these types of harassment, as well as the significance of investigating and prosecuting these threats in order to end impunity for those who assault journalists.
The main event to commemorate the 2021 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists will be a hybrid format high-level roundtable discussion on 3 November 2021 at the Syracuse International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in Syracuse, Italy, organized by Ossigeno per information and supported by UNESCO. The event will serve as a forum for prosecutors and journalists to discuss preventative and protection measures for journalists’ safety, as well as the critical role prosecutorial services, play in investigating and prosecuting not only murders but also threats of violence against journalists.
In General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 2 as the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.” The Resolution urged the Member States to take concrete steps to combat the current culture of impunity. The day was chosen to commemorate the 2 November 2013 assassination of two French journalists in Mali.
All attacks and violence against journalists and media workers are condemned in this historic resolution. It also calls on the Member States to do all possible to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, to bring perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers to justice, and to provide victims with adequate remedies. It also urges governments to foster a safe and enabling environment for journalists to carry out their duties independently and without undue interference.