WAN-IFRA gives Golden Pen of Freedom to 1,200 journalists killed doing their job since 1992

The killing of journalists  is a “global tragedy” which needs to be urgently addressed, according to WAN-IFRA.

The group, which represents 18,000 news publications around the world, presented this year’s Golden Pen Of Freedom award to “journalists killed in the line of duty”.

WAN-IFRA estimates that nearly 1,200 journalists have been killed around the world doing their jobs since 1992 – including 16 this year. Eight were killed on 7 January in the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The WAN-IFRA board said in a statement: "In honour of fallen colleagues, and to focus the international spotlight on the issue of safety and impunity for journalists worldwide, awarding the Golden Pen of Freedom to Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty sends a powerful message to the perpetrators of crimes against the media, as well as to legislators and those with the power to enact better laws and enforce stronger protections for newsgatherers around the world," said the WAN-IFRA Board in making the award.

“With this award, the world’s press is sending a resounding signal of resistance to those who believe that silencing journalists will curtail freedom of expression,” the Board said. “While we honour the lives and work of some of our bravest colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us informed, we pledge to continue their commitment to shine light into the darkest corners of the world to expose wrongdoing, defy the abuses of the powerful, and ensure the public’s right to know.”

“If the same deadly statistics existed in relation to any other profession that had such an impact on how we define and understand our world, we would reasonably expect the outcry to be emphatic, the investigations relentless, and the commitment to reversing the trend universally forthcoming. That it is not so for the lives of journalists killed in the line of duty is a global tragedy that must be addressed with urgency if our belief in open, free societies is to endure.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 742 of the journalists killed since 1992 were murdered. In 90 per cent of cases no perpetrator has been prosecuted.

WAN-IFRA has called on the journalism industry to engage with the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, as well as other safety mechanisms, to better protect newsrooms and the lives of journalists.

Picture: Former Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, who was killed reporting from Syria in 2012.

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