In just the past few weeks, a renowned investigative journalist was murdered by a bomb that booby-trapped her car; another was dismembered in the course of researching her story; and a photojournalist was found dead after being forced to leave his home at gunpoint.
From 2006 to 2016, 930 journalists and media workers were killed. Thousands of others routinely face sexual harassment, intimidation, detention and ill treatment.
Rampant impunity then compounds the crimes. In nine out of ten cases, the perpetrators are never brought to justice.
When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole also pay the price. The kind of news that gets silenced – corruption, conflicts of interest, illegal trafficking — is exactly the kind of information the public needs to know.
The United Nations General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council have all condemned attacks against journalists and called for ensuring their safety.
The United Nations system has also endorsed a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
We are committed to helping to create the environment journalists need to perform their vital work. I am mobilizing a network of focal points from throughout the UN system to propose specific steps to intensify our efforts to enhance the safety of journalists and media workers.
On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, I call for justice — in memory of all journalists who have been killed, and in recognition of the importance of free and independent media in advancing development and peace.