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In the past decade 700 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public: on average one death every week. In nine out of ten cases the killers go unpunished. Impunity leads to more killings and is often a symptom of worsening conflict and the breakdown of law and justice systems. UNESCO warns that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime. Governments, civil society, the media, and everyone concerned to uphold the rule of law are being asked to join in the global efforts to end impunity.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI). The Resolution 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.

This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

In 2014 alone, the UNESCO Director-General condemned the killing of 87 journalists, media workers, and social media producers of public interest journalism. In 2012, the deadliest year for journalists, 123 cases were condemned.

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Facts and Figures

  • 680 killings of journalists have been condemned by UNESCO’s DG from 2006-2014.

  • 94% of killed journalists are local and only 6% are foreign correspondents.

  • Male journalists account for 94% of journalists killed.

  • Less than 6 % of the 680 cases are ever resolved.

  • 41 % of killed journalists worked in print media.


  • Sylvie Coudray
    Chief of Section
    Communication and Information Sector (CI)
    Mail: s.coudray(at)unesco.org
    Tel: 33-1 45 68 42 12
    Fax: 33-1 45 68 55 84
  • Ming Kuok Lim
    Programme Specialist
    Communication and Information Sector (CI)
    Mail: mk.lim(at)unesco.org
    Tel: 33-1 45 68 35 67
    Fax: 33-1 45 68 55 84




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