Thu, Jan 16, 2020 - Page 9 News List

Ending demonization of and violence against journalists

By Leon Willems

These cases needed — and received — long-term attention. Still, who has heard of Norma Sarabia from Mexico or Eduardo Dizon from the Philippines, who also paid the ultimate price for practicing their profession? Nigerian journalist Jones Abiri went to prison for the second time last year on trumped-up charges, while a Nicaraguan photographer recently said that he has stopped working as a journalist for the time being, because it meant risking his life every day.

Who is standing up for these lesser-known figures?

The justice system should give higher priority to prosecuting attacks against journalists, yet a series of resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and Security Council has yielded limited results.

A better way to end judicial inaction would be to establish an internationally mandated investigation committee, which also would clear the way to resolving the hundreds of cold cases of journalists killed for doing their job.

Dozens of journalists are murdered every year, and in nine out of 10 cases, the perpetrators walk free. As long as such impunity exists, it pays to kill journalists.

Five years ago, we were all Charlie. Today, let us also be the hundreds of other journalists who have been killed since then.

Leon Willems is director of Free Press Unlimited.

Copyright: Project Syndicate

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