The members of the International Press Institute (IPI), meeting at their 62nd Annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress on May 20, 2013 in Amman, Jordan, adopted by unanimous vote a resolution calling on states to implement laws and policies aimed at promoting a safe environment for journalists and fighting impunity in cases of violence against them.
A total of 132 journalists lost their lives because of their profession or while on assignment in 2012, the highest figure recorded over the past 15 years. The record number of deaths occurred in spite of continued efforts by national and international organisations to raise awareness about the existence of universally-accepted international standards and norms for the protection of journalists, and the responsibility of states in ensuring respect for such norms.
Impunity in crimes against journalists is endemic around the globe and fosters new attacks. The inevitable consequences of such impunity are censorship and self-censorship, which generate a loss of information about issues of great public interest.
In September 2012, the UN Human Rights Council passed by consensus a landmark resolution on the safety of journalists, in which it affirmed the responsibility of states in ensuring that impartial, speedy, and effective investigations into crimes against journalists are conducted and that those responsible are brought to justice.
Nevertheless, in 2013, journalists in countries such as Mexico, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Brazil and the Philippines continue to be targeted with impunity, and governments have been negligent in addressing the problem.
IPI members called on states to ensure speedy implementation of all necessary measures aimed at stopping violence against journalists, thus allowing them to practice their profession in a secure and independent manner. Referencing, a joint IPI/WAN-IFRA press freedom mission to Mexico in February 2013, IPI members called on the Mexican federal government to effectively implement the recently-installed protection mechanism for journalists and human-rights defenders, including a rapid-response system on the ground in case of imminent threat or attack.
In addition, IPI members, welcoming the Mexican federal Congress’ unanimous passage of legislation empowering the federal government to investigate crimes against journalists, called on the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression to unflinchingly pursue those who have sought to intimidate the Mexican media into silence.
IPI members, noting that at least 50 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2006, further called on President Enrique Peña Nieto to prioritise journalist safety during his six-year term, emphasising that an unfree press is a threat both to Mexican democracy and to the right of Mexico’s citizens to accurate information about the events taking place in their country.