Dear friends and colleagues,
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) in conjunction with the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) invites the media community in Southeast Asia to join us and national and international groups in inaugurating International Day to End Impunity on 23 November.
On 23 November 2009, a group of Filipinos and media workers were travelling in the convoy of a gubernatorial candidate in Maguindanao province in Southern Philippines. An armed group attacked the convoy in broad daylight. Fifty-eight Filipinos, 32 of them media workers were killed.
International media advocates said this is the single deadliest incident for journalists in recent history. Almost two years later, the perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice. This is precisely why media advocates around the world have unanimously agreed to designate 23 November as the International Day to End Impunity.
This global campaign aims to raise public awareness of threats of impunity against journalists and human rights defenders on duty around the world. Impunity is a chronic failure by states, judiciary and law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to justice. Impunity is perceived to be even more damaging than the deaths themselves since it encourages more killing when perpetrators are neither arrested nor prosecuted.
In the last few years violence against media workers in Southeast Asia has worsened global impunity trends. This is largely due to the dysfunctional democracies, the existence of repressive laws, failure by regional governments to uphold the rule of law and weak judiciary.
The continuing use of stifling censorship laws throughout the region, as well as politically-motivated prosecutions designed to curb dissenting speech in countries such as Thailand and Burma further exacerbate the impact of impunity on the media and freedom of expression.
SEAPA appeals to interested parties to write about these issues in solidarity with journalists facing threats and difficulties in their daily work and to offer moral support for families of those killed journalists.
The more the media is able to provide articulate and wide- spread coverage of impunity, the better the public will understand and appreciate the need to defend the media and to end impunity.
As part of the global campaign, SEAPA is pleased to share with you a media kit with information about two cases of deadly violence and impunity from Southeast Asia and contacts for interviews (please see the file below).
For accompanying high-resolution photographs, including those pictured here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
We hope you will find this useful in circulating information on and raising awareness of the pressing issues surrounding the International Campaign to End Impunity.
We look forward to you joining us on 23 November in commemorating the deaths of journalists and working towards a freer and safer media environment in the future.
Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Executive Director
Download the media kit in English here
Download the media kit in Thai here
For more details of the global campaign, please visit http://daytoendimpunity.org/
To access the Global Impunity Index, visit the Committee to Protect Journalists website at http://www.cpj.org.
For more information, please contact the SEAPA office at +66 2 2435579 or email email@example.com. You can contact Ms. Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Executive Director at +66 880 174 810 (for interview in English/Bahasa) or Ms. Kulachada Chaipipat, Campaign Coordinator at +66813734202 (for interview in English/Thai).