#KeepTruthAlive: New UNESCO campaign to commemorate International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists


On 2 November, on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), UNESCO launched its new global communication campaign #KeepTruthAlive, developed pro bono by the creative agency Doyle Dan Bernbach (DDB Paris), which shines a light on the dangers faced by local journalists around the world.

Indeed, in the last decade, 93% of journalists that have been killed were local journalists, many of them covering local issues such as corruption, trafficking and politics. Through a series of photographs, courtesy of Charles Petit, the campaign tackles the question of “proximity” with these journalists, and calls for an end to impunity for crimes committed against them.

The campaign has already benefited from the support of key media partners, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Le Monde, Libération, Le Parisien, Les Echos, and Helsingin Sanomat who published one of the visuals in their newspapers. The campaign was also massively relayed online, with media including France Media Monde, L’Express, L’OBS, The Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, The Rappler, La Repubblica, and The Times of India publishing articles and content on their websites, Twitter and Facebook pages. High-profile personalities, such as Christiane Amanpour and Carmen Aristegui, also took to Twitter to express their support for the campaign. Additionally, the visuals of the campaign were translated in 15 different languages, and have been featured on JCDecaux public billboards in Paris and in Mexico City, and in the subway stations of Brussels.

A series of 12 portraits of local journalists that have been killed were also developed and shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to illustrate how the threats, intimidations and the fear of being attacked are often an everyday reality for some journalists. To that end, UNESCO and DDB Paris developed a Google Maps, keeptruthalive.co, which features the names, dates and locations of the 1348 journalist killings that have been condemned by UNESCO since 1993. Internet users are thus able to access information on each journalist, and to share the map on social media to call for justice and demand an end to impunity for the violence perpetuated against media workers.

As the leading agency for the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity, UNESCO has been coordinating global efforts and raising awareness on the need to provide a safer environment for journalists to do their work. According to UNESCO’s new report, Intensified Attacks, New Defences, in the last 12 years (2006-2018), 1109 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public. In nine out of ten cases, the killers go unpunished. It is in recognition of the far-reaching consequences of impunity, especially for crimes against journalists, that UNESCO has launched this campaign, and calls for justice for the journalists whose killings remain unpunished.