"We'll see for ourselves on Friday," was a refrain on the lips of most journalists I met in Lusaka in mid-September, as they speculated on the health of President Michael Sata ahead of their country's opening of parliament, where the leader was due to speak.
In November 2013, the United Nations General Assembly put the issue of impunity squarely on the global agenda.
The Resolution on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted by consensus, describes the absence of justice for victims as “one of the main challenges to strengthening the protection of journalists.” It calls on states to “ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy, and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction.” Governments are further charged to “bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.” The resolution proclaims November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
Today the fight against impunity has reached an important juncture. There is awareness on domestic and global levels of the extreme peril posed to journalists and the public’s right to information when violence against the press is met with official inaction. The cries for justice by freedom of expression advocates have been amplified by the U.N.’s endorsement and its designation of the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
On October 16, photographs of a woman were posted on the Twitter account @Miut3 with an ominous message. "My life has come to an end today. Don't put your families at risk like I did," the tweet read. "I'm sorry. I died for nothing. They are closer on our trail than you think."
Bogotá, Colombia, October 17, 2014--Pablo Medina Velázquez, a Paraguayan journalist who wrote about the country's illegal drug trade, was shot dead on Thursday along with his assistant, according to news reports. He is the third journalist murdered for his work in Paraguay this year.
Pakistani journalists I have met over the years know that while I might be an American, I have never been an apologist for the U.S. government. The goal of the Committee to Protect Journalists is to assist members of the press no matter where they are, and if we have to criticize their governments, well that's part of the job. We don't accept money from any government, and we don't promote any government's policies. We stay focused on journalists, their safety, and their rights. My beat is Asia, and the threats and intimidation faced by journalists working in that region is where our Asia team puts its focus.
"They raided our offices as if we were mobsters. The irony of the situation is that the Hungarian police rarely raid mobsters with such force," said an employee at one of two NGOs whose Budapest offices were stormed by about 20 officers of the Central Investigations Office--Hungary's version of the FBI--on September 8.
Bogotá, September 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by death threats against numerous journalists in different states in Colombia over the past week and calls on authorities to ensure the journalists' safety. All of the journalists had reported on criminal activities in the region.
Sign up for emailed alerts and newsletters to track global developments in press freedom. Be notified whenever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored, or harassed. Or get a monthly newsletter to keep up with CPJ’s efforts to defend journalists around the globe.