On the impending occasion of United Nation’s impunity day on crimes against journalists, the Geneva-based media safety and rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) raises demands for justice to all victim scribes around the world.
The PEC opines that the observation on the particular day will be fruitful only if the culprits-who killed, abused or threatened media persons are booked under the law of respective nations.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed November 2 as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ through which it urged member countries to implement definite measures countering the culture of impunity and also promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their duties independently and without undue interference. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali in 2013.
According to PEC figures, at least 64 journalists have been killed so far this year. Last year the global media fraternity lost 92 scribes to assailants, followed by 75 (in 2019), 117 (2018), 99 (2017), 156 (2016), 135 (2015), 138 (2014), 129 (2013), 141 (2012), 107 ( 2011), etc. The statistics include murders among journalists, correspondents, freelancers, cameraperson, photojournalists, news-bulletin producers, etc.
“Afghanistan and Mexico remain the most dangerous countries for working journalists,” said PEC secretary-general Blaise Lempen, adding that there is no progress for the safety of media workers and often the assassins of journalists get away with murders. No crime should go unpunished, particularly in case of sentinels of the society, asserted Lempen.
On Thursday, Mexican journalist Fredy López Arévalo was shot dead outside his residence at San Cristobal de las Casas. Lopez, who was a former correspondent for El Universal in Guatemala, worked for Panorama and was in charge of the Notimex office in Chiapas. He was also associated with Novedades and published articles in Proceso. With Lopez’s murder, the total figure for journo-murders in Mexico increased up to 9 since January 2021.
Trouble-torn south-Asian nation Afghanistan lost 11 journalists till date. The journo-casualties started from 1 January of 2021 with the murder of Adel Aimaq (Voice of Ghor radio), followed by Mursal Waheedi, Saadia Sadat, Shahnaz Raoufi (each in Enikas TV), Mina Khairi (Ariana News), Toofan Omar (Paktia Ghag Radio), Danish Siddiqui (Indian photojournalist with Reuters), Alireza Ahmadi (Raha), Najma Sadeqi (Jahan-e-Sehat TV), Fahim Dashty (Kabul Weekly) and Sayyed Marof Saadat (Nangarhar).
India and Pakistan witnessed the murder of five journalists each, while Bangladesh lost two scribes to assailants till date this year. The populous country, recognized as the largest democracy in the globe, witnessed the murders of Ashu Yadav, Sulabh Srivastava, Ch. Keshav, Manish Kumar Singh and Raman Kashyap. Pakistan lost Ajay Laalwani, Waseem Alam, Abdul Wahid Raisani,Kashif Hussain and Shahid Zehri.
“Relatively a small but populous country Bangladesh lost two journalists this year to assailants namely Borhan Uddin Muzakkir and Mushtaq Ahmed,” said PEC’s south and south-east Asia representative Nava Thakuria adding that India’s other neighbors namely Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar have not reported any incident of journo-murder, even though the media fraternity continues to face harassments from various agencies there.