In the last quarter century, at least 2,297 journalists and media staff have been killed for doing nothing more than trying to inform the world on war, revolution, crime and corruption.
And killers continue to act with impunity, the International Federation of Journalists announced in a new report. The annual total stood at 40 in the federation’s first year of counting, 1990, but has not dipped under the 100-mark since 2010.
“The last ten years were the most dangerous,” said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger in an interview, with 2006 the worst year of all with 155 killed. And despite vows of protection from as high as the United Nations, the IFJ said it produced the report “25 years of contribution towards safer journalism” to underscore a worsening climate of impunity which has helped killers get away with murder and turn journalists into soft targets.
“The IFJ estimates that only one of ten killings is investigated,” the report said, with actual convictions lower still. “That is the diplomatic issue. Let’s stop the impunity that protects the killers,” Bellanger said.
The 79-page report will be made public next week, but this news agency obtained a copy ahead of a debate on Monday at the British Parliament on “deaths of professional and citizen journalists in conflict zones.” The IFJ will also take the report to a major Unesco meeting in Paris next Thursday devoted to the same issue.
“We bring this report to show to all that it really is time to do something about it,” said Bellanger. Last year stood out for the attacks on the Paris office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, where two Islamic extremists killed 12 people at the satirical newspaper’s office. The IFJ’s total tally of the year stood at 112. The IFJ says it bases its information on a variety of sources, including national affiliates in about 140 nations, police sources and political reports.