About this Campaign
We don’t often think of the news as a deadly business, but it is.
When you think of a journalist, you don’t always imagine war zones, abductions and dangerous conditions.
But for many of the world’s journalists, the world is increasingly dangerous.
While there have always been journalists and other media workers on the front lines and behind the scenes in places of turmoil, they were usually protected by a common decency.
They weren’t soldiers. They were writers.
Recently conditions have escalated.
The journalist is no longer just facing potentially dangerous conditions – he is being targeted.
Worse, the criminals abducting, threatening and murdering journalists are getting away with their crimes.
And it’s time for that to stop.
Journalists in the News
Journalists have always known that it is risky to be on the front lines of any battle. After all, a journalist doesn’t carry weapons. He doesn’t call for artillery fire. He brings the tools of his craft, promising to tell the story of the conflict or situation.
But recently, journalists aren’t being accidentally killed in the crossfire. They are being targeted by groups who are using the unarmed journalists as examples for the rest of the world. The majority of the news has been concerned with the killings performed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
In the last three years alone, the Committee to Protect Journalists has tallied more than 80 known abductions of journalists who have been taken hostage due to the conflict in Syria. Of those, a total of 72 have died as a result of their proximity to or involvement in the ongoing fights. 10 have been murdered.
While many of those reporters and journalists are from the area in and around the conflict, reporters from the United States and its allies have been targeted as well as a response to the air strikes on the ISIS-held areas.
A History of Attacks
Journalists have always been at risk, but that risk has increased considerably over the past decade. The escalating conditions over the last decade have caused repercussions across the globe. While it’s regrettable for a journalist to be killed on a dangerous assignment or in crossfire, the escalation of murdered journalists is getting the most attention due to blatant injustice.
The reason is simple: In 9 out of 10 cases involved a murdered journalist, the murderer is never caught. 90 percent of murderers have impunity. They are never caught or persecuted for their crimes.
And that’s terrible.
The Committee to Protect Journalists developed an index in 2008 to track which countries where the murder of journalists goes unsolved. Since the Impunity Index’s inception in 2008, Iraq has been at the top of the list. 100 percent of the journalist murders go unsolved and unpunished in Iraq. Not a single murder has been brought to justice in more than 6 years.
Other countries topping the list of Impunity are Somalia and the Philippines. Syria has joined the ranks of countries with impunity, and it has been recognized as being currently the most dangerous country for journalists in the world.
To even make it on the index, a country must have five or more journalists murdered in a single year without resolution. Other countries named included Mexico, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Columbia, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria and India.
The shocking number of murders and the lack of punishment has led to increased outrage and interest. In 2012, the United Nations signed a resolution on the safety of journalists.
This is the basis of the International Day to End Impunity.
What We Can Do to Help
On November 2, we recognize the International Day to End Impunity. This day is a call to action. The United Nations has strengthened its own resolution to bring about change for the murders who target journalists. And the campaigns are taking hold and gaining popularity worldwide.
The United Nations is calling for countries to set up special investigative units and for more follow through on journalist murders. While certain steps can only be taken by the government of the most affected nations, you can still help spread the message.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has many ways citizens can help – from spreading the word on social media to donating funds to help promote the campaign. You can even submit leads on murders to help ongoing investigations.
Ready to get started? The easiest first step would be the keep spreading the word. An engaged population keeps the government focused on things that matter - and murdered journalists certainly matter.
As more people raise their voices, we can hope that our support gives local governments the motivation to finally do the right thing.
Want to learn more?
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