Graphic © Kazanevksy (Ukraine), Cartooning for Peace
Brussels, October 2020 – The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI) will be marked 2 November amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a period in which threats and detentions of journalists have increased as governments across continents strive to restrict open reporting or blame journalists for the flow of misinformation. This is as impunity for crimes against journalists remains stubbornly high – with only around 10% of perpetrators brought to justice.
For EU Delegations and EU Member States working in countries across the world, IDEI 2020 provides an opportunity to highlight relevant issues and consider ongoing actions to protect journalists.
The EU Delegation Handbook Protecting the Safety of Journalists, Protecting Freedom of Expression provides tools and information to support a range of EU Delegation activities on or around IDEI 2020 which consider important dynamics in country. Actions that would standardly involve direct meetings can be transitioned to online platforms during COVID.
Note on EU Delegation Suggested Actions
Media4Democracy has also developed a Note on Suggested Actions for EU Delegations for IDEI 2020 that outlines specific activities leveraging the Handbook’s Checklist for EU Delegation Actions in Emergencies and the Assessment Matrix: Media Freedom and Journalist Safety – including internal EU Delegation consultations; discussions and planning sessions with EU Member States; and a range of activities engaging media and other stakeholders.
EU Delegations and Member States can obtain a copy of the Note on Suggested Actions by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNESCO IDEI 2020 Activities
EU Delegations can join the UNESCO-organised activities for IDEI, which will this year be organised alongside the 2020 World Press Freedom Day Conference 9 – 10 December. These annual activities, normally convened in capitals around the world, will be held remotely due to the pandemic, offering all EU Delegation staff the opportunity to fully participate in the range of activities.
Specifically linked to IDEI 2020, UNESCO foresees organising an online event on 10 December on the role of prosecutors in ending attacks against the press. The session will also present the main findings of the recent UNESCO Director General report on safety of journalists and the question of impunity.
In a worrying demonstration of the confluence of increasing threats to the safety of journalists and decay of democratic practices, UNESCO has tracked a sharp increase in the number of demonstrations in which law enforcement violated press freedom in the first half of 2020 worldwide. Between January and June, 21 demonstrations were marked by attacks on press freedom, including processions in which journalists were attacked, arrested and even killed.
UNESCO’s recently issued report Safety of Journalists Covering Protests: Preserving Freedom of the Press during Times of Turmoil says that current tactics being used against journalists are increasingly violating international laws and norms that have been long agreed upon under the umbrella of multilateral institutions. Over recent years hundreds of journalists around the world trying to cover protests have been harassed, beaten, intimidated, arrested, put under surveillance, abducted, and had their equipment damaged.