On International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, gathered in Bratislava, Slovakia to demand justice for Ján Kuciak and all other murdered journalists around the world.
Led by Executive Board Chair Markus Spillmann, the Board carried out a solidarity visit to the memorial for Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, in Bratislava, where the Executive Board held its regular semi-annual meeting at the offices of leading Slovak daily SME on November 2.
Speaking at the memorial for Kuciak and Kušnírová, Spillmann called for an end to impunity in crimes against journalists – in Slovakia and around the world.
“IPI is sending a strong message to the Slovak government: The mastermind behind the murder must be brought to justice”, he said.
In #Slovakia the IPI global network demands:#NoImpunity
책임자에 대한 예외없는 사법처리!
¡No a la impunidad!
കുറ്റവാളികളെ രക്ഷപ്പെടാൻ അനുവദിക്കരുത്!
کوئی معافی نہیں
لا للإفلات من العقاب!
Žiadna beztrestnosť#IDEI2018 #EndImpunity pic.twitter.com/7G4zi3IDEJ
— IPI (@globalfreemedia) November 2, 2018
Kuciak and Kušnírová were shot dead in their home in Slovakia on February 20, making Kuciak one of 100 journalists who lost their lives around the world in connection with their work over the past year. According to IPI’s Death Watch, at least 32 of those journalists were killed in retaliation for their work, frequently in response to reports exposing corruption or the activities of crime syndicates. In many cases of targeted killings of journalists, investigations are slow and perpetrators – especially the masterminds – frequently escape justice. Slovak authorities still have not identified the person who ordered the Kuciak murder.
IPI Executive Board member Zaffar Abbas, editor-in-chief of the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, highlighted the importance of thorough investigations into journalists’ killings in remarks given at the Kuciak memorial.
“We have seen journalists killed by terrorism groups, state agents and extremist militias in Pakistan and we continue to struggle with journalism safety”, he noted. “If there is justice for a journalist killed in Slovakia, it will have a worldwide impact.”
Los miembros de la junta ejecutiva del IPI (@globalfreemedia ) acabamos de exigir en Bratislava que no haya impunidad en el caso del asesinato de #JanKuciak y su pareja, y en el de otros muchos periodistas asesinados por hacer su trabajo #EndImpunity #IDEI2018 pic.twitter.com/Pe6vsqgYYi
— Virginia P. Alonso (@Virginiapalonso) November 2, 2018
IPI Special Representative for Journalist Safety John Daniszweski, vice president and editor at large for standards at the Associated Press, described Kuciak’s murder, along with that of Jamal Khashoggi and others in Malta and Mexico, among a great number of other countries, as a shocking blow to press freedom around the world.
“Journalism is not a crime”, Daniszweski stressed. “By killing journalists, you do not kill journalism. You will not silence us.”
The 24 members of IPI’s Executive Board are leading editors and journalists working for some of the world’s most respected media organizations. Board members hail from 21 countries on five continents: Austria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Finland, Germany, Japan, Jordan, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the UK and the U.S.