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Stepped-up action needed to end impunity for crimes against journalists

Speech
Strasbourg 31/10/2018
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Ahead of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2018, Commissioner Mijatović issued the following statement today:

"The recent horrific killings of journalists have drawn our attention to the risks facing journalists in Europe and to the urgency of taking action for their safety.

The murders represent only the tip of the iceberg. Across Europe today, journalists face undue restrictions, harassment, intimidation, abduction or imprisonment.

Every attack on a journalist, every threat or undue restriction is an attack on us all. Impunity for crimes against journalists is unacceptable because it gives a licence for more violence.

European states need to fully grasp how impunity affects us all by undermining security, human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe. Impunity stems from a lack of political will to implement existing press freedom standards and solutions.

Ahead of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2018, Commissioner Mijatović has issued the following statement:

On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, I want to call for stepped up action to close the gap between commitments and practice and to effectively work to create an enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

First, impunity must end. All crimes against journalists should be promptly and independently investigated and those responsible should be punished. 

But we must also ensure the safety of journalists. The full implementation of the Council of Europe Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and the alignment of national legislation with press freedom standards are instrumental in this endeavour. So is abstaining from hostile political rhetoric which only attacks press freedom because it dares to question power.

Free and safe journalists are vital to human rights promotion and protection. Journalists expose violations and abuses, give a voice to the voiceless and bring light into dark corners. They foster informed participation in decision-making and help reinforce transparent and accountable institutions.

Political leaders, opinion makers and influencers have the duty to make Europe a safe place to exercise journalism. They have the duty to fight impunity and to protect press freedom."