BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS the world recognizes today (Nov. 2) as UN International Day to End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists, the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) is lamenting the challenges operating in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.
The United Nations says the Day draws attention “to the role of law enforcement agents in ensuring the safety of journalists during public demonstrations and elections”.
According to the ACM, today 33 media workers are confirmed killed in the Israeli-Palestine conflict: 28 Palestinians, four Israelis and one Lebanese.
In the region, the ACM disclosed that Latin America and the Caribbean remains one of the deadliest places to be a journalist.
In a media statement. a UNESCO Director General Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity found that 69 journalists were killed in the region across 10 countries from 2022-2023.
“Today matters because not only are the lives of journalists at risk. In some of the most extreme cases crimes against them go unpunished. On Friday 8th September, a gunman on a motorcycle fired several shots into the office of Nationwide News Network, one of the leading media houses in Jamaica. A similar situation took place in Suriname on Tuesday 24th October at LIMFM radio station. No one was hurt in either attack, but cars on both compounds were struck. Despite widespread condemnation, no one has been arrested for either attack,” the statement added.
The regional media umbrella body noted that “Impunity is an insidious threat. It serves to legitimise crime, by allowing perpetrators to go unpunished.”
It stressed that the situation could lead to a “climate where the mistreatment of media workers is normalised, perhaps even encouraged”.
The body pointed to Haiti, in discussing the assassination of a Radio-Tele journalist in April, with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) saying, "There is little chance that (Dumesky) Kersaint’s killers will ever be brought to justice."
The regional association said it remains committed to supporting the work of journalists and fighting for their safety, which includes calling on regional law enforcement to take the investigations of crimes against them very seriously.
“The association repeats its call for a thorough investigation into the attacks at Nationwide News Network, LIMFM and the bombing on the car of Dominican journalist Carlisle Jno Baptiste in July,” the statement added.
The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force has given its commitment to protecting the wellbeing of practicing journalists in the twin-island Federation.