Minute of Silence

A call for newsrooms around the world to fall silent for a minute on May 3rd to protest the murder of hundreds of journalists is gathering support from organizations concerned with reporters’; safety.

UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communications issued the call in Paris in March. The IPDC aims to mobilize the international community in support of media development in developing countries. May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day.

The London-based International News Safety Institute says it has counted more than 1,500 journalists killed in the past 14 years. Most, it says, were targeted because of what they said or wrote and in many countries the killers are never brought to justice.

“This is the dreadful hidden price of our world news,” INSI Director Rodney Pinder said in a statement endorsing UNESCO’s call.

“The death toll is a shocking indictment of states that fail in their duty to protect their journalist citizens — and of other countries who profess a staunch commitment to freedom of expression but stand aloof when journalists die just trying to do their job.

“One minute’s silence in newsrooms on World Press Freedom Day surely is the least we can do to remember our friends and colleagues who have fallen as well as those who still put their lives on the line daily to keep us informed.”

Meanwhile, in New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists has placed 12 countries on its “Impunity Index” to highlight places where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers.

In its third annual compilation of the index, the CPJ this week named Iraq, Somalia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Russia, Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

Iraq led the list for the third year in a row, with an unsolved murder rate for journalists three times worse than anywhere else.