OSCE Rep on FoM: The threats to free media, the dangers of impunity

Illustration for International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. (OSCE)

2 November has been proclaimed the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists by the United Nations General Assembly.

On this occasion, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media published the following statement:

Attacks on journalists are met with impunity

As the wellspring of news and information widens in our increasingly digitized world, so grow the dangers facing those engaged in journalism.

Whether they’re hastily recording footage on a smart phone, reporting from a warzone or researching public archives for an investigative report, journalists searching for the truth are attacked, threatened and hindered in their work every day.

The greatest crime, however, is that the perpetrators are generally left unpunished. Ninety percent of attacks on journalists go without conviction, which equates to impunity – which is unacceptable

A battle that must be fought every day, everywhere

2 November has been proclaimed the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists by the United Nations General Assembly. It serves as a reminder of what we must do every day to bring issues of criminal impunity to light.

It is a day when all stakeholders, ranging from media to civil society to international organizations and governments, can join forces to focus public attention on the importance of ending impunity for crimes against journalists. It is a day on which we remember the battles we all have to fight, every day, to ensure journalists’ safety around the world.

Scale of attacks on journalists are growing throughout the OSCE region

The scale of attacks on, and harassment of, members of the media keeps growing throughout the OSCE region.

This award-winning campaign against impunity for crimes committed against journalists, produced with the Commission for the Investigation of Murders of Journalists and supported by the Representative’s Office, gives an idea about the threats that too many journalists face on a daily basis in the OSCE region.

The vicious cycle of impunity must be broken

Safe and unhindered journalism is a cornerstone of any modern democracy. Therefore, journalists’ safety must be guaranteed at all times and the cycle of impunity for crimes against journalists must be broken.

“If journalists are not safe and free to write and to investigate in order to publish stories, freedom of expression and free media is at risk”   – Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media


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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.