UNESCO Launches Observatory on Murdered Journalists and Actions Taken to Punish Crimes against media Practitioners


On November 2, 2018, in commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, UNESCO launched the Observatory of Killed Journalists, an online database providing information on the status of judicial enquiries into each killing of a journalist or media worker recorded by UNESCO since 1993 and based on information provided by the country in which the killing took place.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO

The 2018 UNESCO Director-General Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity shows that one journalist or media personnel is killed every four days providing a tragic demonstration of the risks many journalists face in the line of duty with the latest UNESCO statistics showing that in 89% of the cases, the perpetrators go unpunished.

The Observatory records 1,293 killings since 1993, with more than 80 recorded so far this year. The online database allows journalists, researchers and members of the public to obtain information on murdered journalists, with search options based on nationality, country of killing, name, sex, media type, and employment status.

The Observatory also provides information about the status of judicial enquiries and, in many cases, makes available documents from national authorities on judicial proceedings. Country profiles available in the portal allow insights into levels of impunity per country.

UNESCO, as the UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, monitors killings and supports Member States in addressing the prevailing climate of impunity for such attacks.