The United States recently co-sponsored the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. "On this day and every day," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, "we affirm that ending impunity is both a moral imperative and a practical necessity in creating free, open, and stable societies around the world."
Every day, brave journalists take extraordinary risks to write stories that expose corruption, ask tough questions, or bear witness to the suffering of innocent men, women and children subjected to the horrors of war and human rights abuses.
In their service to humanity, hundreds of journalists have been targeted and killed in the past decade alone, while countless more have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, and tortured. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, the perpetrators of these senseless crimes against journalists – sometimes regimes or governments, but also terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL -- go unpunished.
Syria has been a particularly deadly country for journalists where the Bashar al-Assad regime and ISIL continue to censor the media through vicious and heinous attacks, including disappearing and kidnapping journalists to stop the free flow of information to the outside world.
The United States demands an end to impunity for those who use violence to silence their critics and demands answers on behalf of all the journalists and their families who still have not seen justice served. Moreover, the United States calls on all parties to the Syrian conflict to protect journalists in Syria and its neighbors. Above all, said Secretary Kerry, "We stand in awe of the courage of those who risk their lives to tell the stories the world needs to hear."
The United States, said President Barack Obama, "commends the priceless contributions by journalists to the freedom and security of us all, shining light into the darkness and giving voice to the voiceless."