End impunity for crimes against
journalists says IPDP
121 journalists killed in 2006; 53 in 2007
The Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) called on governments to report on their investigations into the assassination of journalists and other crimes against media workers.
Denouncing recent attacks targeting journalists, the members of the Intergovernmental Council gathered at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, urged member states to comply with relevant obligations under international law to end impunity for such crimes. The Council requested member states to assume responsibility for monitoring the investigations of killings condemned by the Director General of UNESCO.
Over the past two years, UNESCO has publicly condemned the killings of 121 journalists – 68 in 2006 and 53 in 2007. The 26th session of the IPDC Council hosted a debate which underlined the challenges faced in protecting journalists. It proposed measures to encourage a higher level of advocacy both nationally and internationally.
Newly elected IPDC Chairman Ambassador Walter Fust of Switzerland, announced the decision adopted whilst recalling the UN Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006).“The adopted decision, announced by the newly elected IPDC Chairman, Ambassador Walter Fust of Switzerland, recalls UN Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006), which refers to the responsibility of member states to “comply with the relevant obligations under international law to end impunity”. The Council’s decision requests member states to assume responsibility for monitoring the investigation of killings condemned by the IPDC and informing the organisation of actions taken and of the status of the judicial inquires conducted into each case”, a press statement said.
The decision also invites the Bureau of the IPDC Council to explore ways to prioritise projects that support local capacity building in safety and protection of journalists.
Rodney Pinder of the International News Safety Institute maintained that impunity continues to be a major problem and that insufficient measures are in place to ensure the safety of journalists in the field.
Statistics compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists between 1992 and 2007 show that only 6.7% of the cases concerning the assassination of journalists resulted in the conviction of those responsible.