International Day to End Impunity: Nov. 23

For many years too many governments or private groups have gotten away with killing journalists.

The InterAmerican Press Association started a campaign back in 1995 to highlight this problem in the Americas with its Impunity Project. To help in the program the John S. and James L. Knight foundation provided a substantial grant.

Now, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange is sponsoring and International Day to End Impunity, Nov. 23.

That date was chosen because it is the anniversary date of the single deadliest attack on journalists in recent history when, in 2009, 34 journalists were part of a massacre of political activists in Maguindanao, Philippines.

The journalists were covering a march of a local politician to file his paperwork to challenge the incumbent governor. In the end, 57 people were killed including the 34 journalists, the candidate and many of his supporters.

More than 190 people from the governor to local police were charged with plotting or carrying out the murders.

IFEX wants to draw attention to the in action of governments around the world to the murders of journalists.

According to [The Committee to Protect Journalists’] 2011 Impunity Index, also released at the IFEX conference, Iraq once again ranked the highest in terms of unsolved murders (92) in the past 10 years. But no region is left untouched: Somalia and the Philippines, which joined Iraq at the top of the index, showed either no improvement or worsening records.

Each day during November IFEX will feature 23 unsolved murders. The “virtual calendar” of murder will include the stories of journalists, writers, artists or free expression advocates who were killed in the line of duty on that day and whose case remains unsolved.

To help publicize the day, IFEX is running a contest for the best poster that explains the purpose of the day. Visitors to the IFEX site are invited to vote on the best submission.

 

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