‘Masterminds behind journalist murders almost never face justice’ – IPI

Journalism has become one of the world’s most dangerous professions, the International Press Institute (IPI) said to mark the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ on 2 November.

The IPI has urged states to do more to protect the safety of journalists and bring those responsible for attacks on the media to justice.

More than 900 journalists and media workers have been killed around the globe in the past decade, according to UNESCO.

The IPI pointed out that the vast majority of journalist killings go unpunished, which “fuels further violence, weakens democracy, and harms everyone’s right to the truth”.

In at least nine out of ten cases, the killers of journalists go unpunished, the institute cited UNESCO estimates.

Daphne Caruana Galizia features in an online exhibit of 11 cases of journalists who have been killed with full or partial impunity over the past decade.

“If anyone is held accountable, it is usually the hired killers, with the masterminds behind the murders of journalists almost never being brought to justice,” the IPI said.

It added this pattern is seen even where there has been some progress toward accountability, particularly referring to the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and Jan Kuciak in Slovakia.

The primary obstacle to justice in journalist killings is often “a lack of political will”, the IPI observed.

The truth that would emerge from full and transparent investigations would implicate those in power, threaten vested political or economic interests, or bring down corrupted systems, the international organisation explained.

It said that impunity for the killing of journalists is a betrayal of justice, inciting fear among journalists and making democracies suffer.

Further threats to journalists range from kidnapping to physical assaults, online threats and surveillance, the IPI said, adding there is a widespread lack of justice in these cases, too.

Referring to the 2012 UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists, the IPI said, “ten years later, it is obvious that not enough has been done”.

This week, representatives of UN member states will convene again in Vienna for a global conference on the safety of journalists.

The IPI has called on governments, law enforcement authorities and courts to redouble their efforts to protect journalist safety.


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