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CFWIJ demands justice for attacked women journalists and end to impunity

On 2 November 2020, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Coalition for Women In Journalism issued a statement calling for justice for murdered, threatened, attacked, and harassed women journalists and for an end to impunity in crimes against them. 

The full statement reads: 

The Coalition For Women In Journalism inspirits the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists by launching a campaign to highlight the threats against women journalists around the world. CFWIJ calls for justice for crimes against journalists and demands preventive measures to ensure the safety of journalists around the world.

In 2020, The Coalition For Women In Journalism documented over 540 threats against women journalists worldwide, 109 out of them are physical attacks and impediments on the field, 63 major organized troll campaigns, 15 sexual harassment. Three women journalists were murdered, 47 of them were arrested, 86 – detained, 67 were subjected to legal harassment, 31 were physically assaulted, 21 threatened with violence or other type of intimidation. We also documented 21 cases of state oppression, 18 examples of verbal harassment, 17 incidents of workplace harassment, 16 sexist attack. Two journalists were abducted, 3 were tortured while imprisoned, four got their accreditations revoked, four journalists experienced discrimination solely based on their gender, 9 were exposed to racial discrimination.

On February 20, radio journalist Aracely Alcocer Carmona was shot outside her home in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. According to authorities, 37-year-old Aracely Alcocer Carmona, better known by her radio name “Barbara Greco,” was standing outside of her home with her father when a group of unknown gunmen shot her.

On March 30, journalist Maria Elena Ferral Hernández murdered in Mexico also. Maria was targeted by two hooded men on a motorbike in the municipality of Papantla in the state of Veracruz, while she was leaving a notary’s appointment. Maria - a reporter for the Veracruz newspaper El Diario de Xalapa - was known for her investigations on crime, corruption, and the police.

On September 5, journalist Shaheena Shaheen Baloch was brutally murdered in Turbat, Balochistan. Shaheena was allegedly shot twice to unsurvivable injuries by what the CFWIJ has found to be her husband.

Following the murder of journalist Shaheena Shaheen in September 2020, CFWIJ launched a campaign in Pakistan to highlight the threats against women journalists in Pakistan and authorities' complacency in punishing murders of journalists and demand justice for Shaheena.

The campaign drew international attention to the dire situation of women journalists that CFWIJ launched a global campaign about #ThreatsTWIJ, the campaign shed light on online trolling and its catastrophic impact on women journalists. The campaign documented the physical attacks resulting from online trolling. One of our key findings is that authorities don’t take preventive measures to ensure women journalists' safety and crimes against them are not punished and perpetrators have impunity in many cases.

According to the UNESCO observatory of killed journalists “in the past fourteen years (2006-2019), close to 1,200 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public. On average, this constitutes one death every four days. In nine out of ten cases the killers go unpunished ”

Crimes against women journalists range from murder, physical attack, online trolling, sexual harassment, arbitrary detention, and legal harassment. Impunity for such crimes encourages preparators and also leads to drastic consequences on women journalists' careers and lives.

In one of the most known quotes about journalism, Phillip L. Graham said “Journalism is the first rough draft of history”. Journalists risk their lives and compromise their safety daily to verify the information and provide credible coverage that combats misinformation. In return for their coverage, they might lose their lives, or suffer from dire injuries or other fatal consequences. Ending impunity in crimes against journalists is a key milestone to ensure press freedom and present a rough draft for history.

The Coalition For Women In Journalism joins all voices around the world in demanding justice for murdered, threatened, attacked, and harassed women journalists and we call for new preventive measures that ensure the safety of women journalists and end impunity in crimes against them.

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