International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists


The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is annually marked on November 2 in order to focus global attention on an alarming situation that limits the ability of journalists to carry out their work and undermines the right of society to receive reliable information.  This memorable date was established in 2013 by a resolution of the UN General Assembly.  The document condemns violence against media representatives and obstruction of their duties. According to international humanitarian law, mass media employees who carry out their professional activities in armed conflict zones should be protected and respected by all belligerent parties.

There are rising concerns due to a complex situation in journalism: More than 800 journalists were killed during the last decade. In Donbass territory alone, 17 media professionals were killed as a result of actions of Ukrainian military since 2014, including Russian journalists Anton Voloshin, Igor Kornelyuk, Andrey Stenin and Anatoly Klyan, and an Italian correspondent Andrea Rokelly.

In the last 23rd Report on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine, published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, special attention is paid to harassment of journalists, censorship and repression against the media. The report emphasizes that Ukraine regularly records an increase in the number of physical attacks on media workers and other incidents that impede their legitimate professional activities.

Violent attacks, including threats, torture, abduction, sexual assault, are a means of pressure on the media. Although the risk to life is higher in combat zones, journalists die in peaceful regions as well. In most cases, people are murdered intentionally because of the information collected by them as part of investigative journalism.

The resolution urges UN member states to take every effort to prevent violence against journalists, encouraging an impartial and prompt investigation of cases of violence against media workers. Media representatives should be granted with appropriate legal remedies, and states must create safe and favourable conditions for professional activities of journalists.