Press freedom: safety of journalists and impunity

4 February 2008

The English version of the 84-page publication derived from World Press Freedom Day 2007 speeches and presentations is now available online.

The annual conferences that UNESCO organizes on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day bring together experts to discuss a variety of issues concerning a free press. As a consequence, a considerable political momentum has built up, and a large body of knowledge has been acquired.

The World Press Freedom Day 2007 conference dedicated to press freedom, safety of journalists and impunity took place in Medellin, Colombia, on 3 May 2007. The decision to focus on this particular theme was taken in view of the increasing violence against media professionals. Media professionals, government officials and human right defenders addressed such issues as the ever greater danger of working in conflict areas, poor journalist protection and security arrangements, the importance of safety trainings, corruption and investigative journalism.

Press freedom and safety is not only an issue in conflict and post-conflict areas; there is also a worrying tendency of increased political pressure in many other countries. In the past decade, more than 1000 media professionals have been killed in the exercise of their profession, most of them victims of targeted killing. Only very few cases are investigated. In even fewer cases the perpetrators are brought to justice. Indeed, impunity stands in the way of justice in more than ninety percent of these cases, and as long as this pervasive culture of impunity persists, journalists will remain easy targets.

The articles in this book, several by journalists with personal experience of harassment or violence, explore the problem from many angles. Although all agree that violence against journalists is morally and legally unacceptable, there are differing points of view about whether journalists should be afforded extra legal protection under international humanitarian law. The Medellin declaration adopted by the participants of the conference closes the book.

The publication in PDF format can be downloaded here.
The printed version will be available in February 2008.

Permanent link: