12 November 2008


Another harrowing week for journalists, according to IFEX alerts. Some of the recent stories: a Pakistani journalist was killed at a checkpoint - even though his car was clearly marked "press". A man who murdered an Argentine photographer in 1997 and was sentenced to life imprisonment was freed, while a Burmese blogger who criticised the military junta got 20 years in jail.

International Press Institute's (IPI) newly launched Justice Denied Campaign seeks to change this reality. It highlights stories of impunity and the imprisonment of journalists worldwide, ensuring that these stories remain visible, particularly among key decision-makers.

The "impunity" figure is often bandied about in free expression circles: in nine out of 10 murders of journalists, the perpetrators remain at large. IPI looks beyond the number and tells the stories of impunity. They include a Serbian journalist likely murdered for daring to criticise developments in Kosovo, a Mexican crime reporter who simply vanished, a Sri Lankan journalist caught up in the violence of his country's civil conflict, and an outspoken press freedom advocate shot dead for resisting restrictions on the press in the Gambia.

The stories of imprisonment include a group of Cuban journalists arrested in a massive crackdown triggered by a petition for reforms, a Bangladeshi reporter who has been sentenced to a total of 48 years of imprisonment in six separate cases, and two Iranian journalists facing the death penalty after addressing the plight of the country's Kurdish community.

"The stories told by IPI's Justice Denied Campaign are stark reminders of the dangers faced by journalists committed to informing the public," said IPI. "When a journalist is attacked or jailed, the loss goes beyond the personal, with entire communities losing access to information they sorely need. We trust these stories will offend peoples' innate sense of justice, but we also hope that this will prompt people to act."

IPI is encouraging the media to support the Justice Denied Campaign by publishing these stories. Background material, interviews and commentaries on cases are presented on IPI's website, at: http://www.freemedia.at/justicedenied
Some of the material has been translated into Spanish, Turkish, Farsi and Tigrinya. Serbian, Russian and Bengali translations will be added in the near future.

(12 November 2008)

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