The vital role of journalists, in safeguarding human rights and democracy around the world, is in contrast to human right abuses and corruption amongst others. As a result, journalists, in their quest to access and disseminate information, are confronted with intolerance and brutalities on the part of the wrongdoers.
According to UNESCO, 700 journalists have been killed for reporting news and bringing information into the public domain and that, in nine out of ten cases, the killers go unpunished. It is important to note that apart from conflict zones, it is mainly independent journalists who are subjected to arbitrary detention and torture by dictatorial regimes. Journalists in exposing rampant corruption and the abuses by security forces are usually targeted and manhandled.
Two French journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, were killed on the 2nd of November 2013 while reporting in Mali. The United Nations General Assembly, in commemoration of their assassination, adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session 2013 which proclaimed 2nd November as the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI)”.
Through this milestone decision, the UN denounces any assault against journalists and media practitioners. However, it is the responsibility of all democrats and peace loving people around the world to promote a safe and enabling working environment for journalists in order to ensure accountability in the management of the affairs of the people. Journalists should exercise their duties in the most impartial manner without undue interference mainly on the part the State.
The All Africa Students Union (AASU), on the occasion of IDEI, wishes to pay tribute to the memories of all journalists who lost their lives in line of duty. Without a free press, humanity will be plunged into information darkness whereby the rights of people will not be respected.
AASU condemns violence against and killing of journalists and any act aimed at preventing them to exercise their duty freely without any undue influence or hindrance. We urge all member and well-meaning organizations to support and promote the rights of journalists and media practitioners for a safe and enabling working environment.
Long live the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists!
All encouragement to journalists!
By Awaah Fred