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NUJ campaigns to end impunity for crimes against journalists


2 November 2017

As part of the global day of action today, the NUJ has joined the global chorus standing up to demand the end to impunity for the crimes against journalists.

This year the NUJ has highlighted the unresolved case of NUJ member Martin O’Hagan and the plight of Mexican journalists.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Today we mourn for our colleagues and we stand up and fight for justice. Impunity for the crimes against journalists remains the biggest global threat to press freedom. The killing of media workers is not inevitable, to stop impunity for crimes against journalists we need action from international institutions and governments to protect journalists and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:

"Our colleague and friend Martin O’Hagan was shot dead on 28 September 2001 in Lurgan in Northern Ireland. The British and Irish governments should appoint a panel of independent, international experts to carry out an investigation into his murder and into the failed police investigation which has been mired in controversy. Sixteen years after his brutal murder the killers have not been brought to justice. Martin was the only journalist killed during the Troubles because of his journalism. He was killed because of his relentless pursuit of the truth and in his memory the NUJ continues to demand the truth about his murder."

The chair of the NUJ parliamentary group, Clive Lewis MP, has tabled an Early Day Motion in parliament highlighting the global campaign: 

"That this House welcomes the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) campaign to end impunity for crimes against journalists; commemorates the UN international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists on Thursday 2 November 2017; notes that the UN day of action was adopted in 2013 to mark the anniversary of the killing of two French reporters in Mali, and comes ahead of another important anniversary on 23 November, of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines when at least 32 journalists lost their lives in the single deadliest attack on the media; further notes that the priority areas of concern this year for the IFJ are Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Somalia, Ukraine and Yemen; supports the aim to hold all governments accountable for their impunity records and denounces crimes targeting journalists that remain unpunished; condemns the perpetrators who have killed the 55 journalists who have lost their lives when carrying out their duties since the beginning of 2017; deplores that only one out of every 10 killings in the media globally is investigated; and calls on the government to use its influence around the world to bring such impunity to an end."

Today only one out of 10 killings in the media is investigated. Impunity not only endangers journalists. It imperils democracy and the right for the public to know. 

The NUJ has contacted the Mexican Ambassador in London today to raise concerns about impunity and to offer support to our colleagues. In Mexico, Cecilio Pineda Birto, Ricardo Monlui, Miroslava Breach, Maximiliano Rodríguez Palacios, Filiberto Álvarez Landeros, Javier Valdez Cárdenas, Héctor Jonathan Rodríguez, Salvador Adame Pardo, Edwin Rivera Paz, Cándido Ríos, Carlos Hernández Ríos and Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro are the twelve media workers in the last ten months who have been killed.

Their names have been added to the long list of journalists assassinated in the country. A list that since the year 2000 exceeds 100 deaths.

The NUJ stands with its sister union, the National Union of Press Editors (SNRP) in Mexico, to demand the authorities bring the perpetrators of crimes against journalists to justice.

What you can do to support the campaign:

  • Take a workplace picture or selfie using the logo and tweet it to us at @IFJGlobal and @NUJofficial hashtag: #endimpunity
  • Tweet the governments and leaders in the countries where journalists don't get justice
  • Organise a collection at your next union meeting, in the newsroom or work office to raise money for the IFJ safety fund, donations information below
  • Contact your MP to ask them to sign the EDM 485 and tweet a message of support for the campaign, the EDM is listed on the parliamentary website.

IFJ safety fund donations:

The scheme is the only international assistance fund for journalists established by journalists.
Donations can be sent to the IFJ International Safety Fund on the following account:

The Safety Fund
a/c BE64 2100 7857 0052
Swift Code: GEBABEBB
BNP PARIBAS FORTIS BANK, Rond Point Schuman 10, 1040 Brussels.

Tags: , impunity, ifj, journalist safety, journalists killed, un, northern ireland, mexico