The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) made a desperate call to governments across the world last month to end impunity for violence against journalists and media staff.
The call was made as IFJs released its 23rd annual list that shows the deadliest regions for journalist as it indicated the number of attacks made on the media in 2013. The report showed that there were 108 targeted killings and 15 accidental deaths of journalists and media staffs in 2013. The list indicated that the deadliest regions for journalists were Asia Pacific, with 29% of the killings and the Middle East and Arab World with 27%.
Nigeria had one record of ‘Targeted Killings, Bomb Attacks and Cross- Fire Incidents’ and 3 records of ‘Accidents, Diseases and Natural Disasters Related Deaths’ in 2013.
According to IFJ, while the numbers of killings are down, levels of violence are still unacceptably high and there is an urgent need for governments to protect and enforce journalists’ basic right to life.
The IFJ applauded the UN Resolution that established the International Day to End Impunity for crimes against journalists which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2013.
Jim Boumelha, President of IFJ said, “Following the UN’s resolution establishing 2 November as an International Day to End Impunity, we urge countries across the world to take immediate action to protect the safety and freedom of journalists. We give our full support to this new initiative which we believe will contribute to fighting impunity across the globe provided that governments are willing to adopt a zero tolerance approach to violence targeting journalists.”
According to the IFJ statistics, “ many journalists were deliberately targeted because of their work and with the clear intention to silence them, a finding that conveys the critical need for countries to improve the protection and safety of journalists and punish the perpetrators of violence against media.”
“It is clear that there is no sign of the horrific treatment of journalists abating,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa. She said, “The UN Day for 2 November is of huge importance in the fight to protect the rights, safety and freedoms of journalists across the globe, including the many women journalists who deal with discrimination and violence on a daily basis.”
The IFJ promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists. It promotes human rights, democracy and pluralism and condemns the use of media as propaganda or to promote intolerance and conflict.