Media Freedom Coalition statement on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists
November 2, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists was established on 2 November 2013, so that the international community could stand together in support of journalists and media workers, and demonstrate its commitment to fighting against impunity for crimes committed against them.
Today, journalists around the world continue to face callous and often deliberate attacks from those who want to stop them from telling the truth and bringing information to the public. According to UNESCO, over 70 journalists have been killed since early January 2022 simply for carrying out their work. Journalists and media workers also face a barrage of other threats, from online abuse to censorship, harassment and arbitrary detention. The number of journalists known to be jailed for their work is at least 524, a global high.
As wars and conflicts rage around the globe, the role of free and independent media has never been more vital, but also never more under threat. Media workers on the frontlines provide evidence of the realities and impacts of conflict, including war crimes, sexual violence and rape, crimes against humanity, genocide, and human rights violations and abuses. Reporting from war zones puts media workers at particular risk, but journalists are not only under threat in these areas. In 2020 and 2021, UNESCO found that 78% of the journalists who were killed lost their lives in the privacy of their own homes or while travelling.
Many journalists face multiple forms of discrimination and gender-based violence because of other characteristics, including sexual orientation, race, age, disability, language, religion, ethnicity or gender identity. Women journalists are disproportionately targeted by online harassment, threats, sexist hate speech and trolling. The number of women journalists killed is also increasing. This can lead to self-censorship, where women choose to withdraw from the public sphere, undermining media pluralism and democracy as a whole.
According to UNESCO, 9 out of 10 killings of journalists and media workers go unpunished. Indifference is a deadly weapon, allowing those who want to silence journalists to continue their attacks. Today we call for all attacks against journalists to be investigated and prosecuted in compliance with national and international law.
On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists 2022, the Media Freedom Coalition will not let journalists’ censorship, persecution, and deaths be invisible to society. We believe that knowing the truth is protecting the truth.
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
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