Daniel Halliday
Oct 29 · Last update 6 days ago.
How can we end impunity for crimes against journalists?
90% of the murders of journalists remain unpunished, as corruption, political influence and conflict can obstruct justice. As recent evidence mounts of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi being related to his supposed acquisition of evidence of Saudi war crimes in Yemen, let us consider: How can we realistically challenge the global cycle of impunity for crimes against journalists?
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Ending impunity is impossible in an atmosphere of corruption and clandestine conduct
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The world needs a multinational investigative body for crimes against journalists
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Multilateral international pressure
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Ending impunity is impossible in an atmosphere of corruption and clandestine conduct

In the days and weeks following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi it became clear that both the Turkish and British intelligence services had evidence regarding this case. While Turkey soon released public statements and shared “appalling” recordings of Khashoggi’s murder to other security services, British intelligence apparently knew of the event three weeks before it even took place. According to an article published in the UK’s Daily Express, MI6 even warned the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate to cancel the operation but were ignored. In a climate of corruption that disregards human rights and the importance of free press to this extent, and the appropriate services are unwilling to challenge such actions, what hope is there of ending impunity around crimes against journalists?

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The world needs a multinational investigative body for crimes against journalists

Governments too often fail in addressing the cycle of impunity surrounding crimes against journalists, according to a special report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Various UN resolutions are currently in place to safe guard journalists, but governments are currently falling short of addressing this issue. While governments need to continue to make changes, a UN or ICC sponsored investigative organisation could carry out independent investigations, helping to shine light on this incredibly complex matter, that is at its heart a question of corruption. Such external probing may help pressure organisations and governments to take more constructive strides forward on this issue.

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Multilateral international pressure

Following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a well known critic of the Saudi regime, on the 2nd of October Turkish officials were quick to publicly denounce the murder and demand answers from Saudi Arabia. The US eventually criticised the original Saudi explanation, claiming that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive and later changing their story that he had died following a fight inside the consulate. The UK, France and Germany have also demanded a full explanation, considering these countries along with the US account for nearly 80% of Saudi arms imports multilateral pressure, if applied correctly, could cause a turn around in Saudi rhetoric over their actions concerning Khashoggi. An effective coordinated international move here against a country like Saudi Arabia could act as a future deterrent against similar bad actors that are willing to commit crimes against journalists.

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