World Press Freedom Day 2003

"Impunity"

According to the professional organizations, of the 523 journalists killed between 1992 and 2002, 374 were intentionally murdered: 128 for their political opinions, 67 for having exposed corruption, and 179 because they were in conflict areas but were killed despite having identified themselves as reporters.

Unfortunately, in the course of exercising their profession, journalists may be subject to harassment, imprisonment, attack, and even murder. Apart from the suffering of the victim, such abuses are also a grave curtailment of freedom of expression, with all that this implies as a limitation on the enjoyment of freedoms and rights in society at large. For whenever one journalist is exposed to violence, intimidation or arbitrary detention because of his or her commitment to conveying the truth, all citizens are robbed of the right to express themselves and act according to their conscience. 

It is a very sad and disturbing fact that most of the crimes against journalists go unpunished. Impunity is not only a violation of the right of freedom of expression but also a denial of the right to the truth – for the victim or closely-related persons and for the whole of society. Where impunity rules, the death-knell of freedom, security and the rule of law is sounded.

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