My Killers Are Still Free: The story of a campaign
Statistics collected by UNESCO show that a recent awareness-raising campaign on the safety of journalists has reached millions of people worldwide. The campaign marked the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI, 2 November). Titled My Killers Are Still Free, the aim of the advocacy initiative was to draw attention to the high level of journalists’ killings and the prevailing impunity for these crimes committed against them.
The campaign also highlighted the key findings of the biennial Report of the UNESCO Director-General on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, which was presented on 17 November to the 39 Member States of the Intergovernmental Council of the Organization’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
Through a series of representative cases of attacks against journalists, My Killers Are Still Free brought into the spotlight the statistics of a decade of violence against journalists, media workers and social media producers.
UNESCO has documented 827 journalists killed since 2006, when the IPDC mandated the Director-General to begin requesting information from Member States on the judicial investigations carried out into killings of journalists.
The campaign also presented powerful and heartfelt testimonials of close relatives, co-workers, and lawyers of killed journalists across the world, to reflect upon the distress caused by impunity at a personal level and the damage to society as a whole.
“The proper conclusions of investigations into acts of impunity are important in order to reestablish the governance and the rule of law. […] If we continue to allow these outstanding investigations and abuses to go unaddressed, people will lose faith in the institutions of the State and a country will not be able to achieve its security and development goals,” said Sonali Simarasinghe, widow of murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, in one of the testimonials featured in the campaign.
UNESCO’s efforts joined with those of many other actors calling to end impunity for crimes against journalists, with the Twitter hashtag #EndImpunity reaching 140 million potential views in one week.
My Killers Are Still Free was widely shared in social media by UN agencies, media development organizations and media leaders from around the world, reaching approximately 300K users in Facebook, 650K and 70K potential views in Twitter and Instagram respectively.
The International Day to End Impunity and the My Killers Are Still campaign together received coverage from at least 250 newspapers around the world.
The Organization’s message cautioning on the danger of impunity to the right to know was reinforced by an Op-Ed by Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, which was published by over 40 media outlets.
In total, 32 events were organized worldwide by UNESCO and partners for this third edition of IDEI, through which UNESCO sought to keep the memory alive of killed media workers and to reinforce the call to resolve the crimes against them.
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