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UN calls for ending global crisis of impunity for crimes against journalists

  • Published at 07:10 pm November 1st, 2018
Journalists-road safety movement-helmet
File photo: Unidentified men wielding metal rods and sharp weapons attack freelance photojournalist Rahat Karim while attempting to break his camera in Dhaka’s Science Laboratory area on Sunday, August 5, 2018 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is set to be observed on Friday, November 2

Human rights experts for the United Nations (UN) have urged countries to take effective steps to ensure accountability for violence against journalists, in an attempt to resist a shocking global trend of impunity against perpetrators.

The statement was made by the experts ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, set to be observed on November 2, Friday, reports UNB.

"Journalists around the world face threats and attacks, often from government officials, organized crime, or terrorist groups. Political leaders incite hostility by framing reporters as 'enemies of the people' or 'terrorists'," the statement read.

The UN experts included David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Tae-Ung Baik (vice chair), Bernard Duhaime (chair), Houria Es-Slami, Luciano Hazan and Henrikas Mickevicius of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

They also said that hundreds of journalists are detained or forcibly made to disappear because of their journalist work, according to the statement from Geneva.

"Governments conduct surveillance of journalists and undermine digital security as part of the daily attack on free and independent media. Press freedom organizations conservatively estimate that dozens of reporters have been killed this year alone."

They said countries have not made adequate responses to these crimes against journalists.

"Most recently, states and the international community, including the United Nations, have failed to address the enforced disappearance and murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The only way forward is to establish an independent, transparent, and credible investigation into his murder, one authorized by and reporting to the United Nations.

“Anything short of a complete investigation, recognized as such by the international community, will make a mockery of government claims of commitment to the safety of journalists."

The experts urgently called on all countries to implement the international legal framework on safety of the journalists.

They said high-level commitments, such as the latest resolution on the safety of journalists adopted this year by the UN Human Rights Council, must be implemented.

"We call on all leaders worldwide to end their role in the incitement of hatred and violence against the media. These last weeks have demonstrated once again the toxic nature and outsized reach of political incitement against journalists, and we demand that it stop," read the statement.

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