Fri, 21 June 2024

AEJ co-hosts topical debate on journalists’ safety and impunity at Brussels Press Club

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On October 27 the AEJ co-hosted a lively and well-attended meeting of Brussels-based journalists, European Commission officials and visiting speakers at the Press Club Brussels Europe, to highlight the UN-declared International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, which is officially on 2 November.

A video recording of the 2-hour event can be accessed on the Club’s Facebook page here: . Speakers included representatives of the European Federation of Journalists, Ossigeno per l’Informazione, UNESCO and the OSCE, as well as the AEJ.On or around 2 November at least 25 events marking ‘Anti-Impunity Day’ are being held in countries around the world.
The website of UNESCO, UN Agency which coordinates many actions to protect journalists’ safety and the free flow of information, carries details of all those events, and a complete record by UNESCO of the judicial follow-ups – if any – by the states concerned following the deaths of journalists who paid with their lives for reporting the news.
On 2 November UNESCO will publish full details of the comprehensive 2-yearly Report on the Safety of Journalists  by its Director-General. The 2016 Report will reveal the disturbing and ongoing failure by dozens of UN member states to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killings of more than 700 murdered journalists over the past ten years. The Report will reveal the complete list of well over 800 journalists, in all, whose deaths have been condemned by UNESCO over the past decade (2006-2015).
The evidence plainly shows the deadly climate of impunity which surrounds killings and other attacks against journalists in more than 9 cases out of ten in all parts of the world. That impunity has made journalism more dangerous than ever, both in war zones and in so-called non-conflict areas.
The outline programme of Thursday’s Press Club Brussels Europe event was as follows. Watch the video online


Over 800 journalists were killed in the past 10 years in the world. In nearly all these cases their killers have never been brought to justice.

To put an end to this, a 2013 resolution of the UN General Assembly on Safety of Journalists proclaimedNovember 2nd each year the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI). The date was chosen to commemorate the death of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, two French radio journalists killed by rebel fighters in Mali on 2.11.2013.

The Press Club Brussels Europe, together with the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) in Belgium and the Italian NGO Ossigeno per l’Informazione, who monitors thousands of cases of threatened journalists in Italy, will organize this event to alert professional and political authorities in Europe to this serious issue and to seek suitable responses to the dangers journalists face in their daily work.

The event will consist of two sessions:

– the first one centered on the geography of violence perpetrated against journalists in all its possible declinations and how it has an impact on the work of fellow journalists. A panel with experienced journalists and other experts will convey the message of the impact of the increased dangers for journalists all over the world because of their work. Special welcome address from the UNESCO representativeAdeline Hulin

Speakers on the panel: William Horsley, AEJ Media Freedom Representative; Jean-Paul Marthoz, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ); Gie Goris, MO Magazine; Erisa Zykaj, Brussels correspondent of ABCNews TV (Albania).

– a second session will be centered on the Italian case and the work of Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information) which has uncovered, through their specific “method” of enquiry, the cases of thousands of journalists, bloggers, photo and video reporters, who have been victims of intimidation, threats and abuse in Italy because of their work. The debate that will follow might also help uncover the same kind of intimidations in other countries in Europe and elsewhere that go unreported and that can seriously affect freedom of information even in the most democratic countries. Special welcome (in video) from Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE representative  on Freedom of the Media.

Speakers: Alberto Spampinato, journalist and founder of “Ossigeno”: his brother Giovanni Spampinato was killed on October 27th 1972 because of his work as a journalist; Sarah Vantorre, a Belgian PhD graduate whose doctoral dissertation in Italian studies focused on the work of Sicilian journalist and intellectual Giuseppe Fava, who was also murdered because of his work and Ricardo Gutierrez, Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists.

This event has the support of several international media organizations(UNESCO, UN, EFJ, IFJ, OSCE, CoE, ECPMF and the international AEJ).

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