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Continuing crimes against journalists

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization commemorated the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists with a report that sixty-two journalists were killed in 2020, adding to the more than 1,200 who lost their lives the same way between 2006 and 2020.

“In nine out of 10 cases the killers go unpunished,” UNESCO added as it highlighted the importance of prosecutorial services not only in bringing killers to justice but also prosecuting threats of violence.

In a message marking International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres noted that many journalists had lost their lives while covering conflict, but the number of media workers killed outside conflict zones have risen in recent years.

“In many countries, simply investigating corruption, trafficking, human rights violations or environmental issues puts journalist’s lives at risk,” Guterres said.

Journalists face countless other threats, ranging from kidnapping, torture and arbitrary detention to disinformation campaigns and harassment, particularly in the digital sphere.

For Guterres, “Crimes against journalists have an enormous impact on society as a whole, because they prevent people from making informed decisions.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic, and the shadow pandemic of misinformation, has demonstrated that access to facts and science is literally a matter of life and death,” the UN chief said. “When access to information is threatened, it sends a disturbing message that undermines democracy and the rule of law.”

He urged member-states to stand in solidarity with journalists around the world, showing the political will needed to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

On Saturday, Orlando “Dondon” Dinoy, a reporter and volunteer anchor, was shot six times at close range by gunmen who barged inside his home in Bansalan, Davao del Sur. Another heinous crime against a journalist has been committed and unless our government takes urgent and decisive action to stop further crimes by ensuring that the perpetrators and mastermind are exposed and justice is served swiftly, this particular crime wave cannot be stopped.*

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