Crimes against journalists on the rise: International Press Institute

52 journalists have lost their lives due to their work since October 2019, says the Vienna-based organisation.

Updated - October 30, 2020 11:37 pm IST

Published - October 30, 2020 05:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is on November 2. File

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is on November 2. File

The International Press Institute (IPI) on Friday said the impunity with which crimes against journalists are committed continued to rise as governments had failed to probe the cases.

Ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2, the Vienna-based IPI said in a statement that 52 journalists, including two in India, had died due to their work since October 2019, of which 24 were murdered in targeted attacks, according to the IPI’s “Death Watch”.

“An additional 15 cases are considered to be likely targeted attacks but remain under investigation regarding the motive. Seven other journalists were killed in Syria and one in Iraq covering armed conflict, and two died in Iraq and one in Afghanistan reporting on civil unrest. An additional two journalists were killed while on assignment. In almost half of the cases, those responsible are still at large,” the IPI statement said.

The IPI, which is an international network of editors, journalists and media executives, said its analysis of the cases had found the governments’ response “alarmingly insufficient”. Out of the 52 cases, arrests had been made in only 10 cases, five each in the Americas and Asia, it said.

“The unbroken cycle of impunity for crimes against journalists fuels further violence against the press at a time when the free flow of news is more valuable than ever,” IPI deputy director Scott Griffen said.

The IPI statement said the Americas had the highest number of killings, like in the previous year, with 21 such cases, including eight in Mexico, five in Honduras, two each in Colombia and Venezuela, and one each in Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti and Paraguay. Of the 11 journalists murdered in Asia, three were in the Philippines, two each were in India, Indonesia and Pakistan, and one each were in Cambodia and Bangladesh. Two journalists were murdered in Nigeria and one each in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia in Africa.

“One journalist died in a targeted attack in Yemen, and another was found dead in his car in Iraq, while in Qatar, the death of an imprisoned journalist is under investigation,” the IPI said.

In terms of action in the cases, the IPI said arrests were made in one of the eight killings in Mexico and the perpetrators were still at large in Brazil, Colombia and Honduras. There had been no reported progress in the investigations into the killings in Bangladesh and Cambodia and no arrests in the seven cases in the Middle East and Africa, it said.

“Unfortunately, even the fact of arrests does not necessarily indicate genuine progress in an investigation into the killing of a journalist, given that all too often the only people who are arrested are the trigger men, while the masterminds remain free,” Mr. Griffen said.

He called on the authorities to ensure that all those involved in the killing of a journalist are brought to justice.

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