Protecting journalists means protecting our own freedom, says OSCE Representative Désir on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
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2017 November 04 ( Saturday ) 11:17:08
VIENNA, 2 November 2017 - On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Committed against Journalists, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir made the following statement:
I want to recall that attacks against journalists take place every day throughout the OSCE region and ninety percent of the perpetrators and masterminds behind these attacks are never brought to justice.
Approximately 220 journalists have been killed in the OSCE region since 1997. In 2017 alone at least four journalists have been killed.
Today, I think especially of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was murdered in Malta just two weeks ago. I also think of Pavel Sheremet, killed last year in Ukraine.
The names of these brave journalists are permanent and painful reminders that we need to be persistent in seeking justice. Each death is a scar on our democratic values, and a direct threat to the security of all journalists.
Though nothing can bring them back, we have a moral obligation to them and their loved ones to do all we can to shed a light on crimes and properly punish all those responsible. Every incident must be publicly condemned to clearly show that violence against journalists is not acceptable.
Safety of journalists, online and offline, must be ensured. Without that, freedom of the media is an empty word.
A journalist is always more visible than others, and takes risks to bring to us the information we need to understand the world. They are our ears and eyes in the world, helping us to understand our own society, to control those in power, be it political or economic.
That"s also why journalists are so often under threat. And this threat is a threat to our own freedom of information and to our democracy.
Impunity is a license for more violence and insecurity. It is a battle that all of us must fight every day and everywhere.
That is why my top priority as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media is the safety of journalists. That"s why we need to put an end to impunity for crimes committed against them.
To protect their security is to protect our freedom.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.