EDITORIAL: On impunity

IN DECEMBER 2013, the United Naions passed a resolution on the safety of journalists, declaring November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. This came three years after IFEX, a global network defending and promoting free expression, launched its campaign to end impunity.

The campaign is a “global initiative to demand accountability for the journalists, media workers, activists, lawyers and many others who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and empower organisations, government bodies and individuals to help dismantle systems of impunity around the world.” This was drafted after IFEX members “identified the issue of impunity as a major obstacle to freedom of expression.”

On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people, 32 of them journalists, were killed in Maguindanao and until the present, the wheels of justice can only be described as slow. Five years after the tragedy, the lives of the victims’ families continue to be ensnared in the quest for justice for their slain loved ones. It has been extremely difficult for them to move on.

Mindanao Times publisher and Phil Press Institute President Jess Dureza, in his interview Wednesday with Al Jazeera news, said: “Impunity can be addressed if perpetrators are arrested, brought to justice and punished. Otherwise journos will have to protect themselves, individually and collectively, if they want to write and broadcast freely and with integrity.

To feel unsecure and in peril will shackle them from expressing freely. This profession is not for the faint-hearted. It takes moral courage to be true to the calling. Also providing an adequate mechanism of redress to those who are in the receiving end of media criticism will also go a long way in preventing the desperate and the aggrieved to take the law into their own hands.”

Posted in Opinion