New research: going from impunity to justice for journalist murders

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Free Press Unlimited
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Free Press Unlimited

We published our 2022 Impunity Report, on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, authored by Evelien Wijkstra and Jos Midas Bartman of Free Press Unlimited.

 

Download the Executive Summary here:

Download the Report here:

Background

Our research responds directly to the need for a better understanding when it comes to global dynamics of impunity and the factors that contribute to solving cases of journalist murders at the domestic level.

Although cases of full justice are scarce, in some cases justice can be achieved, which begs the question of how such achievements can be brought about more often. In spite of the urgency of this question, a systemic understanding of the dynamics of impunity has been lacking so far. 
 

Purpose of the report

  • Our aim is to contribute to a new and fundamental approach to addressing impunity for crimes against journalists with this report;
     
  • To re-shift our primary focus from naming and shaming to expanding our understanding of how to achieve justice in cases of journalist killings;
     
  • To create a better understanding of the causes of impunity for journalist murders and to lay out avenues to justice that can guide civil society actors in their efforts in combating impunity.

We hope the identified avenues to justice can inform the sector’s thinking on how to further justice for crimes against journalists.
 

Key findings

  • Based on a statistical analysis, our research finds that when a central judicial/prosecutorial actor is involved in the investigation of a murder case, it increases the possibilities of justice;
     
  • Added public pressure and monitoring of a murder case by colleagues or relatives of the murdered journalist combined with sustained media attention, are important contributors to the possibility of justice and have even proven to be decisive in several cases;
     
  • Hybrid regimes - which combine both democratic and authoritarian institutions - are currently the most murderous regimes in the world for journalists. Yet, despite the fact that impunity is rampant, we also demonstrate that the most hopeful opportunities for improvement are present there.
     

Context

This report was written by the ‘A Safer World for the Truth’- project team at Free Press Unlimited.

A Safer World for the Truth works towards the pursuit of justice for crimes committed against journalists. The project consists of a series of investigations into cases where a journalist was murdered for doing his/her job. These investigations reveal new facts and information around the killings, paving the way for pursuing justice.

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