The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent nonprofit dedicated to the global defense of press freedom, has started a new digital platform dubbed “Speak Justice: Voices Against Impunity” to campaign against impunity in press killings.
CPJ’s new website Speakjusticenow.org features interactive maps and an infographic video depicting locations of journalists’ killings around the world and the content they had published leading to reprisals.
Profiles that capture tales of slain journalists, Internet users can share, are also included in the site. E-advocates can sign up for news and action alerts.
“Visitors to the site can also support the families of murdered journalists with funds to cover expenses, such as the legal fees and costs associated with their efforts to pursue justice,” added CPJ.
Averagely, 30 journalists are murdered each year in direct retaliation against their work while the perpetrators are almost never brought to justice. This year however sees one of the highest killings with about 12 in Somalia and two others in Tanzania and Nigeria. Across the globe, Syria leads with 27.
“In the past 20 years, more than 660 journalists have been assassinated for exposing abuses of power, crime, and human rights violations. Authorities routinely allow their killers to walk free,” said CPJ Impunity Campaign Coordinator María Salazar-Ferro. “The killers’ message is clear: Journalists must be silent ordie. But our collective voices counter that message by prompting action from authorities and ensuring that press murders are fully investigated and prosecuted.”
Often, threats and abductions go to the extent of killings, a fatal yet avoidable outcome cemented by weak or indifferent authorities who feed a cycle of impunity, CPJ research shows, causing self-censorship which weakens the press from holding governments to account.
“Reporting on politics, corruption, conflict, crime, and human rights has proven deadly for too many journalists who gave voice to underreported problems and exposed important truths,” said Salazar-Ferro. “Demanding justice for murdered journalists will serve to empower those who are still reporting to do so without fear. The silencing of journalists is an attack against an informed citizenry.”