Kathmandu, Nov 3,2014:Â As many as 700 journalists were killed over the past decade in the line of their duty, while most of the deaths were premeditated, according to a report by the United Nations.
Moreover, nine out of the ten cases related to such deaths are not investigated, either because of insufficient resources or a lack of political will.
Giving a message on the first ever Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a free and open press is part of the bedrock of democracy and development.
“In the last year alone, for example, at least 17 Iraqi journalists have been executed. Many more journalists and media workers around the world suffer from intimidation, death threats and violence, “he said in the message stressing the need to end impunity so as to deepen freedom of expression and bolster dialogue.
Similarly, various organizations including the UNESCO and the regional institutions drew the worldâ€™s attention to this alarming situation which is limiting journalistsâ€™ ability to do their work and undermining the peopleâ€™s right to information.
According to UNESCO’s record of different regions, in the percentage of journalists killed from 2006 to 2013, the Arab States has the highest with 32 percent followed by the Asia and the Pacific with 30 percent. Similarly, Latin America and Caribbean hold 21 percent while Africa 13 and Europe and the North America 4 percent.
In 2013, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly had passed by consensus a resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. The resolution includes a call to make the International Day to End Impunity an official UN day, to be commemorated each year on 2 November.
The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.
Another global network defending and promoting freedom of expression, IFEX, has said the journalists covering local issues, corruption, political matters and working in the area of conflict are more prone to the intimidation.
In Nepal’s case, the climate for freedom of expression has relatively improved. Nearly a decade has passed since the end of the armed conflict thereby facilitating the environment for journalists to work freely.
However, the defenders of the freedom of expression are not satisfied with the impunity relating to the crime against journalists.
In this connection, Taranath Dahal, Chiarman of Freedom Forum, an organization advocating for freedom of expression in Nepal, observes that though Nepal is witnessing gradual decline in the press freedom violations in the recent years, the perpetrators against journalists during the conflict are yet to be meted out action.
He suggests the government to adopt a certain measure to cope with the impunity relating to the crimes against journalists in line with growing platform of freedom of expression.
By:Â Narayan Prasad Ghimire