Dunja Mijatovic (Council of Europe) indicates three issues to be addressed in order to punish also the masterminds of crimes against journalists
OXYGEN 28 October 2021 – The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, sent the following message to Ossigeno per l’Informazione, to contribute to the public discussion that will take place on 3 November in Syracuse, to answer the question : how to stop impunity for crimes against journalists? See End impunity! November 3rd, UNESCO-Ossigeno round table in Syracuse (Sicily) – Ossigeno per l’informazione
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
Just two weeks ago I was in Malta where I paid tribute to the memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia, four years after she was assassinated for her journalism. Investigations into her killing are still on-going and despite some progress, full accountability has not yet been established.
Daphne’s case is illustrative of many other murders of journalists which remain unpunished. And it is also the symbol of all the threats that journalists face.
Impunity for crimes against journalists remains widespread in Europe. If sometimes the actual perpetrators are brought to justice, those who mastermind such crimes are rarely punished.
Member states should and can show more commitment in implementing existing standards that they have agreed to and making better use of recommendations and solutions already implemented in some countries.
They do not need to reinvent the wheel. They know what the priorities are.
First, ensuring protection. Police and law enforcement officers must not overlook threats against journalists nor neglect requests for protection. Some countries have good expertise on how to ensure police protection and they should share it with others.
Secondly, end impunity. The police and the judiciary must be able to investigate all cases of violence against journalists, including those involving state agents, and prosecute the perpetrators.
Thirdly, change legislation. Lawmakers must enact legislation that protects journalists and shields them from undue pressure.
This is nothing new and it is within reach provided there is political will.