ON INTERNATIONAL Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) implores government to combat the pervasive culture of impunity for crimes against media practitioners and to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to execute their professional duties independently and without undue interference.
Observed annually on 2 November, International Day To End Impunity For Crimes against Journalists is meant to sensitise and promote constructive dialogue on the level of impunity for crimes against journalists, which remains extremely high across the world with journalists being killed in the line of duty in Palestine, Israel and also on the Israel – Lebanon border. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 31 journalists and media workers were killed as of 31 October 2023, since the war began early in October, with several reports of journalists being injured, detained or reported missing
Journalists play a critical role in reporting facts for consumption by the generality of the society and impunity for attacks and crimes against media practitioners has a damaging impact on the work of journalists as this limits dissemination of critical information, public awareness and constructive debate.
When perpetrators of crimes against media practitioners enjoy impunity and do not account for their actions, this undermines the right of citizens to hold those in positions of authority to account and this affects the free flow of information.
This year, the theme for International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, is “Violence against journalists, the integrity of elections and the role of public leadership” places the challenge on governments to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and set the basis for safe reporting and commit to investigate any violations against media practitioners.
In Zimbabwe, ZLHR is profoundly worried that perpetrators of crimes against journalists, continue to act with impunity with no consequences for their misdemeanours. Journalists are often arrested and assaulted in the course of their duty and in some cases they are forced to delete pictures or videos taken during incidents or events and crimes against journalists increase during electoral periods.
This impunity, which is a failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice constitutes a denial of victims’ right to justice and redress.
Those who commit crimes against journalists must be apprehended, prosecuted and duly punished in order to provide victims with effective remedies and for them to take other necessary measures to prevent a recurrence of violations and such impunity.
To end impunity for crimes against journalists, ZLHR implores government to;
- Minimise and eradicate impunity for crimes against journalists and make crimes against journalists punishable offences in Zimbabwe;
- Promote and ensure a safe and enabling working environment for journalists to discharge their professional duties;
- Investigate, prosecute and bring to justice all perpetrators of crimes against journalists and ensure accountability and appropriate remedies to victims;
- Guarantee protection of the rights of journalists from arbitrary arrest and detention in accordance with the recommendations made by the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights in August 2020 in the Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe – ACHPR/Res. 443 (LXVI) 2020.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
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