November 23 is International Day to End Impunity

November 23 is International Day to End Impunity

Free expression groups, press organizations and journalists worldwide will hold the first ever International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) on November 23, 2011 as part of a global call to demand justice for those that have been persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The date coincides with the second anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, the single deadliest attack on journalists in recent history.

The global activity is led by the Toronto-based International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), a network of 95 free expression and free press organizations worldwide. In the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), will lead the IDEI.

“Journalists, media workers, writers and others who speak truth to power continue to be murdered with impunity in countries from Mexico to Russia, Iraq to Somalia,” IFEX said about the event.

The IFEX said impunity has always been ranked as a top priority for IFEX members. “The hope is that the International Day to End Impunity will highlight the attempts to address this issue by IFEX members," the IFEX said.

“The day will be a platform... to demand that journalists’ killers do not go free, and to ensure that our colleagues working in countries with continuous and rampant impunity feel that their work is valued and their life is treasured," added the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The creation of the day was announced during the Beirut launch of CPJ's 2011 special report on impunity around the world, “Getting Away with Murder." Countries Russia, Mexico, Bangladesh, Iraq, Somalia, Philippines, Colombia, Pakistan, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and India are on CPJ's 2011 impunity index.

The Philippines is regarded as among the deadliest places for journalists worldwide for its dismal record in solving the killing of journalists. According to CMFR, there have been 121 journalists killed in the line of duty since democracy was restored in 1986. Out of these cases, only 10 (or approximately 8 percent) have been solved.

Campaigns and activities

In the Philippines, the campaign will adopt the slogan, “Pangulong Aquino: Ilan pang mamamahayag ang kailangang mapatay? Kilos na! (President Benigno Aquino III: How many more members of media have to die? Act now to End the Killings!” This slogan will remind President Aquino of his campaign promise to address the killing of journalists (and other extrajudicial killings) in the Philippines, the media advocacy organization said.

A Blog Action Day is scheduled on November 21, 2011, bloggers and social media users are encouraged to write and discuss IDEI and issues related to the campaign.

A roundtable discussion on the assessment of the capacity of government, civil society groups, and the media to work together to end impunity will take place on November 15. The video documentary “Roadshow to End Impunity” will also be screened in various universities

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) will led a mobilization on November 23.

Nov. 23 is international day to end impunity
By Ryan D. Rosauro
Inquirer Mindanao
2:32 am | Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The International Freedom of Expression Exchange has designated November 23 as International Day to End Impunity.

Today (Wednesday) is the second anniversary of the grisly massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Of the 57 killed, 32 were media workers, making the massacre the worst single attack on the press. (Only 57 bodies were found. The remains of journalist Reynaldo Momay have yet to be found.)

“(T)wo years later, the perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice. This is precisely why media advocates around the world have unanimously agreed to designate November 23 as the International Day to End Impunity,” said Gayathry Venkiteswaran, executive director of the Bangkok-based Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

The global campaign seeks to raise public awareness of threats against journalists and human rights defenders around the world on account of the work they do.

“Impunity is a chronic failure by states, judiciary and law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to justice. It is perceived to be even more damaging than the deaths themselves since it encourages more killing when perpetrators are neither arrested nor prosecuted,” Venkiteswaran said.

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