Human Rights Minister Marks Day to End Crimes Against Journalists

Baroness Anelay marked International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and remembered the threat facing journalists.

The UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution in 2013 which 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.

In a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Anelay said: “No one should be terrorised into self-censorship or a betrayal of the fundamental rights and behaviours which are central to our values and way of life. Both the tyrant and the terrorist fear the journalist’s pen; this is why the commitment to a free press is an unwavering British value.

“A free media plays a vital role in a functioning democracy. We mark today to highlight why we cannot let those who would seek to undermine it do so, and that this impunity must end.

“Journalists are frequently targeted by criminal gangs, sectarian extremists and repressive states for their work; when people silence journalists, they often do so with impunity.

“This year began with a tragic reminder of the threat faced by journalists. In January alone journalists were murdered in Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, including the devastating attack in Paris on journalists working for Charlie Hebdo. They were killed for shining a light on corruption, expressing their views and satirising ideas. Sadly these crimes were only the beginning this year.

“What often compounds these crimes is the lack of any attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice. These crimes against journalists are frequently ignored and rarely end in a conviction either due to incompetence or the corruption of officials.”