The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists is a significant occasion that underscores the importance of press freedom, the safety of journalists, and the fight against impunity. This day, observed annually on November 2nd, serves as a global platform to raise awareness about the grave threats and challenges faced by journalists worldwide, and the urgent need to address these issues.
According to UNESCO the IDEI 2023 theme titled Violence against journalists, the integrity of elections, and the role of public leadership, seeks to raise awareness and sensitize public opinion and the international community on the main challenges faced by journalists and communicators in the exercise of their profession, and on the escalation of violence and repression against them. It also seeks to emphasize the situation of violence against journalists and media workers during election periods.
HRNJ-Uganda condemns, in the strongest terms, the acts of violence and intimidation perpetrated against journalists in the course of their work, particularly during electoral periods. A free and unhindered press is fundamental for holding leaders accountable and enabling citizens to make informed choices in elections.
Throughout the years, we have witnessed incidents where journalists have been assaulted, detained, harassed, or faced various forms of intimidation. These actions not only violate the rights and dignity of journalists but also undermine the principles of a democratic society.
We emphasize the indispensable role of public leadership in safeguarding press freedom and the protection of journalists. Public leaders hold a responsibility to foster an environment in which journalists can operate without fear, coercion, or violence.
As an organization committed to the defense of journalists’ rights, we call for the following actions:
- Immediate Investigations and Accountability: We urge the relevant authorities to swiftly investigate and prosecute all acts of violence against journalists. Impunity must end, and the perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.
- Judiciary: We implore the judiciary to expeditiously hear all cases involving human rights violations against journalists.
- Public Leadership Responsibility: We call upon public leaders to demonstrate commitment to the principles of democracy by respecting press freedom and refraining from any form of violence or intimidation against journalists.
- Security agencies: We urge security agencies to protect and respect journalists’ rights especially as they go about their work.
HRNJ-Uganda reaffirms its commitment to defending the rights of journalists. A vibrant, free, and safe media is the cornerstone of democracy, and we remain dedicated to promoting these values. We invite all stakeholders, including the government, media houses, civil society, and citizens, to join us in this collective endeavor to promote the safety of journalists in Uganda.