International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists: States must tackle crimes against journalists, says SAMDEN

New Delhi, 2 November 2017:On the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2nd November, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN), pay tributes to the journalists throughout the world who work tirelessly, courageously and professionally to report on and defend human rights and all those who work for substantive equality.

Journalists face a unique set of challenges while performing their duties and often run into specific risks of intimidation, harassment and violence.

 The alarming increase in violence against media defenders and violation of their rights demonstrates the importance of strengthening protection mechanism across the globe. According to the UN, more than 900 journalists have been killed in the last decade, while over 30 journalists have been targeted and killed in 2017, including the recent attacks on journalists in Kenya, Malta, India and Pakistan.

SAMDEN calls upon all governments and segment of society to respect professional media, uphold the law, and resist the intimidation and censoring of journalists. Further, they must ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy and effective investigations into cases of violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction, to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice, and assure victims access to appropriate remedies.

SAMDEN urges media owners and publishers to protect staff and provide assistance cover in all situations, including the confiscation and destruction of equipment. They must develop robust non-discrimination policies to safeguard female journalists and undertake risk assessment analysis in regions of conflict and confrontation.

SAMDEN affirms the importance of freedom of expression and of a free media in building inclusive knowledge societies and democracies to foster intercultural dialogue, peace and good governance.

Signed:

  • Sanjoy Hazarika, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), columnist and author
  • Salil Tripathi, columnist, author, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, London
  • Tarun Basu, Director and former Chief Editor, IANS and President, Society for Policy Studies (SPS)
  • Mahfuz Anam, Editor and Publisher of The Daily Star, Bangladesh
  • Rita Payne, journalist and Media Adviser, President Emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association
  • Nidhi Razdan, Executive Editor, NDTV
  • Preeti Gill, former Commissioning Editor, Zubaan, Publishing Consultant and Literary Agent
  • Vijay Naik, Convener, Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents and Consulting Editor, Sakal Media Group
  • Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, Department of International Relations & Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Sujay Gupta, Group Editor, Herald Publications, Goa
  • Kanak Dixit – Writer and Founding Editor, Himal Southasian, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Zafar Sobhan, Dhaka Tribune Editor 
  • Ehsan Ahmed Sehar, President Rural Media Network Pakistan & Chief Editor Daily Nawa-i-AhmedpurSharqia,Pakistan
  • Kavita Bajeli-Datt, former bureau chief, IANS, Communications Officer, CHRI, India

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