Twenty-three days to take action against impunity

Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joins freedom of expression advocates worldwide in a 23-day campaign to dismantle one case at a time a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to gag journalists, bloggers, photographers and writers, while keeping the rest of us uninformed.

The campaign, sponsored by the IFEX global network for free expression, will highlight cases of individuals who have been threatened or persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Our goal is to draw public awareness to the widespread issue of impunity by asking participants to take a specific action each day.

Today, we are calling on people across the globe to send letters to Belorussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko asking him to put a stop to continuous harassment of Irina Khalip, the Minsk correspondent for the Russian newsweekly Novaya Gazeta, who has been imprisoned, followed, and threatened for her work.

The IFEX campaign will culminate on November 23, the International Day to End Impunity. Designated as such in June 2011, by all IFEX members, the day commemorates the 2009 massacre of 32 journalists and media workers in Maguindanao, Philippines–the single deadliest attack on the press since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records.

On November 23, CPJ will continue the global fight against impunity with the launch of a new digital initiative. Over the past five years, we have sought to bring awareness to the issue, focusing primarily in Russia and the Philippines–two democracies with high numbers of journalist murders and very low conviction rates. The digital campaign will promote a grassroots, global push to end the culture of impunity and drive authorities in Russia, the Philippines, and across the world to bring those responsible for killing journalists to justice.