The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic said on Wednesday that impunity for crimes against journalists should not be accepted in democratic societies.
She told a presentation of a book on risks facing journalists that the fight for free journalism should be everyone’s concern and warned that the number of journalists killed over their reporting has been rising rapidly over the past 10 years.
“For a long time, the murders of journalists happened outside the European Union but the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the murders of Daphne Carauana Galizia, Jan Kucijak, Lyra Mckee in EU countries shattered that great illusion that the safety of journalists is not their problem,” Mijatovic said. She called European countries to share good practices and be proactive in protecting journalists because, she said, democracy can’t function well without them.
Mijatovic said that she would like to see Europe become safer for journalists but added that she does not see a real will and readiness among political leaders. She expressed concern over impunity which she believes reflects the inability of the state to condemn “those who want to kill the truth”. “Democracy, human rights, rule of law can’t be developed if enmity towards journalists exists,” she said.