SHAFAQNA – In a protest to mark International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November), Reporters Without Borders today renamed 12 Parisian streets after journalists who have been murdered, tortured or disappeared.
The renamed streets are those with embassies of countries where journalists have been the victims of unpunished crimes. The embassy addresses have been changed to draw attention to the failure of these countries to take action and to remind them of their obligation to do whatever is needed to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.
RSF is using these 12 emblematic cases to highlight the fact that crimes of violence against journalists usually go unpunished because official investigations are inadequate or non-existent and because governments are apathetic. More than 90 percent of crimes against journalist are never solved.
RSF calls on the public to support the #FightImpunity campaign by visiting the http://fightimpunity.org website. It provides details about unpunished crimes against such journalists as Lebanon’s Samir Kassir, France’s Guy-André Kieffer and Mexico’s María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe. It also allows visitors to take action by sending a personal email or tweet directly to the head of state or government of the country concerned.
Five new names were added to the list in 2015. They include Tunisian journalists Sofiane Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, who went missing in Libya in September 2014, and Radio France Internationale journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, who were murdered in Kidal, in northern Mali, on 2 November 2013.
Six weeks after their murder, the UN General Assembly created International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and decided that it should me marked on the anniversary of their deaths.
“The cases of impunity that we are presenting are terrible symbols of passivity or deliberate inaction on the part of certain governments,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
“This International Day is an occasion for paying homage to the victims and for reminding governments of their obligation to protect journalists and to combat impunity. Those who target journalists will one day be held to account for their actions.”
Whether they were executed, gunned down, died under torture or disappeared, these journalists paid the price for their commitment to freedom of information. Some of these cases have become symbolic. Others are less well known. In the past ten years, nearly 800 journalists have been killed in connection with their work. A total of 48 have been killed since the start of 2015.
In order to combat impunity, Reporters Without Borders is calling for the appointment of a special representative to the UN secretary-general on the safety of journalists.