MIAMI, Florida (November 2, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today ratified its commitment to seek justice in crimes against journalists and joined the “No More Impunity Day” campaign being celebrated in various parts of the world.
According to statistics of the United Nations and IFEX, a body made up of 104 organizations defending freedom of expression around the world, among them the IAPA, nine out of every 10 murders of journalists go unsolved and unpunished.
“The limited number of attacks and murders that are solved is a global phenomenon that is getting worse,” declared Francisco Ealy Ortiz, chairman of the IAPA’s Impunity Committee and president of the Mexican newspaper El Universal.
He added that a first step to combating impunity “is perseverance, the fight against silence and oblivion, a task that in many cases corresponds to family members also turned into victims in such crimes.”
The IAPA for two decades has been working against the phenomenon of violence and impunity, an effort that has counted on the backing of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation which has funded investigations into murders, 29 cases of which have been submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for its consideration.
Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, declared that the recent transfer of the case of the murder of Colombian journalist Nelson Carvajal to the Inter-American Human Rights Court is “a glimmer of hope, an alternative so that other unpunished murders of journalists may enjoy justice.”
Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said that “the remission of a crime unpunished for 17 years, as the murder of Carvajal, before the inter-American system’s top court, creates another forum to deal with the issue of violence against journalists in Latin America where impunity is general.”
The two IAPA officers agreed on the urgency to put an end to impunity and its nefarious consequence for freedom of expression and of the press – self-censorship. IAPA statistics show that 16 journalists have been murdered in the Americas so far this year.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI). The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.