Vice President Josep Borrell and Vice President Věra Jourová have reiterated their call to end impunity for crimes against journalists in a joint statement released ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, observed on the 2 November.
Their statement draws attention to the Nobel Peace Prize that was recently awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dimitri Muratov as a recognition of their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression despite the threats to their life, and describe how according to the UNESCO observatory, 44 journalists have been killed in 2021 alone and many more continue to be attacked, harassed or unlawfully imprisoned.
“Unfortunately, the stories and voices of many independent journalists continue to be silenced all over the world, including in the EU. They face an increasing number of threats and attacks, including assassinations in the most tragic cases.”
They added that “independent journalists protect freedom of expression and guarantee access to information for all citizens. They contribute to the foundations of democracy and open societies. Be it at home or around the globe, the impunity for crimes against journalists must end.”
The International Press Institute’s global network has also renewed its call to end the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists around the world by listing eight cases of unresolved crimes against journalists, as a reminder to the international community that there has been insufficient progress in solving the killings of journalists and that the culture of impunity continues to prevail around the world.
Although some of the cases have seen convictions and other developments in investigations over the years, overall these processes are usually slow or non-existent.
The eight cases listed are those of Jamal Khashoggi (Consulate of Saudi Arabia, Istanbul), Anna Politikovskaya (Russia), Ahmed Hussein-Suale (Ghana), Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta), Miroslava Breach Velducea and Regina Martínez (Mexico), Lasantha Wickrematunge (Sri Lanka), Christopher Allen (South Sudan) and Ján Kuciak (Slovakia).
In a statement, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said: “Despite occasional, incremental progress in some cases, the fact remains that the vast majority of journalist murders around the world go unpunished. The effects of this State failure are extremely destructive: journalists exercise self-censorship to stay safe, criminals feel emboldened to attack the press, and the free flow of news and information – a bedrock of democracy – suffers”.
A recent study by the Committee to Protect Journalists found that over the past decade, 226 of the 278 journalists killed as a result of corruption, organised crime, extremist groups and government retaliation, have been murdered with impunity.
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in recognition of the far-reaching consequences of impunity, especially of crimes against journalists.